Friday, August 24, 2012

CIA-CSI Connection Finally Laid Bare by Robert Hastings

Often UFO proponents hint that the government, and the CIA in particular, must be behind skeptics' knee-jerk debunking of every major UFO sighting. But nobody has come right out and argued the point as directly as has Robert Hastings, the UFOlogist who is best-known for revealing how UFOs have repeatedly zapped our nuclear missiles, and the government has covered it up.
Robert Hastings

On July 29 with his article CSI Skeptic Robert Sheaffer doubts the U.S. Government Uses the Media to Debunk UFOs , Hastings hinted at the truth but did not fully tie everything together. I replied on August 9 with CSI and CIA: Hastings' Hyperbole, still desperately attempting to hold onto a bit of cover.

But then on August 21 Hastings wrote Robert Sheaffer's Bogus Claims on Nat Geo's "Secret History of UFOs": Incompetence or Disinformation? :
Highly relevant to this discussion is my research into Sheaffer’s affiliation with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) which was previously named The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). As journalist Terry Hansen has argued in The Missing Times, the historical role of CSICOP (now CSI) strongly suggests it has been performing as an intelligence community “front organization”—pumping anti-UFO propaganda into the media without revealing its true source or motivation.
This is actually CSI's secret Logo, given out only on a need-to-know basis
Hastings is most concerned about the biased and misleading information I gave to the public in the recent show The Secret History of UFOs on the National Geographic Channel. For me it was all in a day's work, but he observed:
Well-known “skeptic” Robert Sheaffer’s performance in Secret History of UFOs, the National Geographic network’s latest debunking-disguised-as-documentary, begs the question: At what point does the systematic presentation of half-truths and outright falsehoods about the UFO phenomenon cross the line from incompetent scholarship to intentional disinformation? 
As I noted in my last article, given the extremely biased and propagandistic treatment of the UFO subject one consistently finds on Nat Geo, it might reasonably be argued that the network has been working behind the scenes with the CIA to debunk the phenomenon. 
Hastings' Press Conference: Disclosure, not Debunking!

I am not the only one Hastings singles out. James Oberg, Ken Frazier, and James McGaha are all taken to task for their roles in misinforming the public, and covering up the truth. There is no point in further dissimulation. Hastings has laid it all out in a perfectly logical fashion, the first to do so. Now Roger Marsh, the director of public relations for MUFON, has written Hastings speaks out: Could a TV network be working with the CIA? making it   pointless to continue further denial. Everything Hastings says is true.

Last year I began working on a UFO debunking effort with the National Geographic Channel at the request of CIA director David Petraeus. (Next year we planned to begin similar programs on Animal Planet, and the Playboy Channel.) I came up with the idea of a UFO investigations show that would be so foolish, an obvious insult to everyone's intelligence, that it would discredit the very idea of UFO investigations. The result is Chasing UFOs, and I don't mean to boast, but this was a stroke of genius. Then we realized that we'd also need some more sophisticated debunking programs, so I dictated the outline for The Secret History of UFOs, in which a little bit of debunking is mixed with a little bit of UFO truth, to keep everyone confused.

What did I gain from this, apart from the obvious great wealth and cool jetpack? I believed I was helping my country, by protecting people from panic over the fact that not only are the alien abductors, who we are helpless to stop, aroused by our naked bodies, but that they also eat children. Now that you know this, I hope you can still sleep.

the author flies his CIA-supplied jetpack
I don't mean to imply that I have been doing all this work by myself. In between his spy missions to Russia and North Korea, James Oberg has done splendid work explaining away the many alien spacecraft that have been following NASA space missions. James McGaha, a retired Air Force intelligence officer who is in reality still part of the official debunking squad, has done great work spreading disinformation about the UFO that landed in Rendlesham forest, and deciphering the binary message that it sent out telepathically. Dave Thomas helped keep the lid on New Mexico landings and crashes, and would have done more if he didn't have to spend so much time planting thermite in the World Trade Center. And I shouldn't forget Ben Radford, who Hastings takes to task in this earlier column. Congratulations, Gentlemen, now that Disclosure has arrived you can bask in the recognition you have earned!

Now that I have revealed all this, I know that my CIA handlers will be upset with me. They won't "disappear" me because I am too well-known, and they will not arrest me because the trial would reveal too much dirt about the long-standing UFO Coverup which, I understand, is now set to end a week from Tuesday. Gone for sure will be my $1 million-plus annual Debunker First Class salary from the CIA. But I am not going to give back the jetpack!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nick Pope and Alien Invaders

Nick Pope is making an entire career out of having once been responsible for the UK's Ministry of Defense UFO investigations from 1991 to 1994. One would think that such a brief stint would not count for much, but Pope is not one to let an opportunity pass. He gets invited to all the major UFO conferences, and frequently is a guest on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, to spin his tales.

Earlier this year, Pope claimed that a UFO photo that was perhaps the best and clearest ever taken 'mysteriously vanished' from the MOD offices.

Nick Pope
In June Pope got a lot of attention when he warned that mass sightings of UFOs were likely during the upcoming London Olympics. When some  videos showing the Goodyear blimp over the Olympic stadium were interpreted by some people as a UFO, some said 'Nick Pope predicted this.' (Of course, it was only people seeing the video on TV who called the blimp a UFO; people in the stadium recognized it as a blimp, and did not report seeing a UFO.)

Pope also warned that "The government must - and has planned - for the worst-case scenario: alien attack and alien invasion. Space shuttles, lasers and directed-energy weapons are all committed via the Alien Invasion War Plan to defence against any alien ships in orbit," he said, apparently unaware that America's Space Shuttle orbiters have been dispersed to various museums, and the rest of the  system scrapped.

Since the collective response among "serious" UFOlogists has been astonishment, Pope began to slowly backtrack, in a very clumsy manner. He told Richard Dolan (who says quite a few wild things himself, like about aliens on Mars),
“My comments concerning Alien Invasion etc, arose because I was commissioned to do some tie-in PR for the launch of the alien invasion themed Sony Playstation game, “Resistance: Burning Skies”, out exclusively on the Playstation Vita. I came up with the idea of an alien invasion war plan. There are 2 versions out there, I can email you copies, a serious version and a more pop culture version that got picked up by the Daily Mail. The real issue here, and it applies to lots of subjects, is the increasingly blurred lines between real news reporting and marketing. 
In an entry titled The End of Nick Pope, blogger "nickpost" on  reveals his own conspiracy theory:
Nick Pope has completely discredited himself in the field of UFOlogy. Ironically he speaks of “the real issue of blurring the lines between news and marketing” whilst perpetuating just that. It also reconfirmed my assumption that he’s not ex Ministry of Defense.  The issue of Disinformation and Counter Intelligence Programs, (COINTELPRO ), designed to deliberately spread false Information in order to keep the public away from the truth and muddy the waters by intentionally spreading false stories to de-legitimize the subject. In other words if some of the info is true and some of it is ridiculous, it’s all perceived as ridiculous. [emphasis added]
Blogger Simon Sharman writes, "In Pope's own words he 'came up with the idea of an alien invasion war plan' only because he had been commissioned to do some PR for Sony. Secondly, his war plan was carefully thought out because he has no knowledge that any such plans exist." Or in other words, he made up the claim about a government plan for alien invasion,  for commercial gain.

UFOlogist Joe McGonagle wrote, "I struggle to understand why anyone thought Nick Pope had any credibility to start with."
The same man who claims to have investigated Alien abductions,
crop circles, and animal mutilations for the British Government
when he was "in charge of" "the British Government's UFO
Project", when according to the head of his department in 1997;

"Turning specifically to your comments concerning Mr Pope, I
should point out that he was a junior desk officer in the
Secretariat(Air Staff)2a section from 1991-1994 and was not in
charge of, or the head of any part of Secretariat (Air Staff)2.
Mr Pope was an executive officer and shared the support of one
administrative officer"....according to one of his successors, Linda Unwin, "The first point to make is that there is no 'UFO Project'. Handling of UFO sightings is a very small element of our work."
McGonagle adds that Pope is "the man who still pushes the "Cosford incident" as unexplained, when in fact there is an obvious explanation for the majority of the reports on 31st March 1993... The same man who discussed an obvious image of a gull as "If I was still there [on the UFO desk] I'd be looking at this very closely. The object looks structured, symmetrical and metallic"... The same man who continues to portray the radiation readings as hard evidence of something unusual at Rendlesham forest when in fact the readings are meaningless."

Some have described Pope as a 'very conservative' UFOlogist, but the facts don't bear this out. As skeptic Ian Ridpath noted, Pope "has been banging on about potential alien invasion for years."  In a 2006 news interview Pope warns, 'Aliens could attack at any time':
a former MoD chief warns that the country could be attacked by extraterrestrials at any time...
During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth and, more specifically, Britain.
His concern is that "highly credible" sightings are simply dismissed.
And he complains that the project he once ran is now "virtually closed" down, leaving the country "wide open" to aliens.
There has been no suggestion that Pope was 'promoting a video game' at that time.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Steven Greer's 18 Inch Extraterrestrial, and Ghost Rockets

Earlier I reported on the claim of Dr. Steven Greer, of CSETI and The Disclosure Project, to have seen and examined the body of a presumably genuine extraterrestrial, in the possession of an unspecified organization (that he now says is in an unspecified foreign country). He was seeking funds for proper DNA analysis of the creature (although if a being evolved on another planet, it is not at all clear that the creature will even have DNA).

Now Greer has released a photo of it. Or, more exactly, a photo of Greer (or someone) holding a photo of it. Why don't we see a good close-up of the photo itself? Probably it was done that way to prevent us from seeing how phony it is. The photo is now on YouTube, with a soundtrack of Greer describing the creature, and explaining how you need to send him even more money to get it analyzed.

Meanwhile, over in Sweden a team of real-life UFO Chasers is assembling to try to answer once and for all the question of "Ghost rockets" in Sweden. The history of "Ghost Rockets" in Sweden began in 1946, the year before Kenneth Arnold's pioneering saucer sighting. (I wrote about this in the context of "Mystery Missiles" being seen here in the U.S.) In the midst of very real concerns about possible Soviet rocket test launches, people throughout Sweden reported sightings of unknown objects usually described as "Rockets," some of which were reported to have plunged into lakes. But no evidence of a corresponding rocket launch was ever found, and searches by divers failed to turn up Soviet rockets (or anything else) at the bottom of lakes. Hence the name "ghost rockets": they are allegedly seen, but then vanish like a ghost. Many of these sightings were very likely contrails, left by high-altitude military surveillance aircraft that were relatively new sights in post-war Europe. Others were probably meteors, especially if seen at night.
The one "classic" photo of a Swedish "Ghost Rocket"

Frankly, I was not even aware that the "Ghost Rocket" sightings had continued to the present day. It just goes to illustrate the role that cultural expectations play in generating UFO reports; in no other country do people regularly report seeing unidentified objects plunging into lakes.

A group called UFO-Sweden, that appears to be quite well-organized and funded (as UFO groups go), is now preparing a documentary film to hopefully solve this mystery:
 In 2012 the head of UFO-Sweden Clas Svahn will lead an expedition to investigate one of the latest ghost rockets sightings. The case, based on a previous classified report, will be their biggest expedition yet and will take them to a lake located deep in the forests of northern Sweden.
Coming along with Clas is a professional diving team, the two original witnesses, a support team and a chef. And of course a whole lot of equipment including inflatable boats, diving tanks, underwater cameras, a sonar scanner and metal detectors, adding up to over a ton of equipment. Set within a beautiful landscape, this team of people have come together for the first time with a common goal. To find an object that may very well hold the key to unlocking one of the worlds biggest UFO-mysteries.
So possibly they will haul up the remains of some "ghost rocket" at the bottom of a Swedish lake, although I seriously doubt they'll find anything mysterious down there. On the other hand, maybe they'll find a Lake Monster hiding out? Wouldn't that be a nice surprise! But that's not how it works: the bottom of Swedish lakes are supposed to contain rocket parts, and the bottom of lakes in Scotland are supposed to contain Nessie. Different countries, different mythologies.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Socorro Student Hoax Confirmed?

Alleged UFO landing at Socorro, NM, 1964
On September 23, 2009, UFO investigator Anthony Bragalia wrote a Blog entry that generated huge controversy within UFOlogy. I wrote about it in my Psychic Vibrations column of March/April, 2010. I wrote:
The famous Socorro “UFO landing” case of April 24, 1964, has been proclaimed by leading UFOlogists, such as Jacques  Vallee and the late J. Allen Hynek, as among the best ever recorded. Policeman Lonnie Zamora allegedly witnessed two humanoids standing outside a landed craft, which then flew away with a loud roar. The object’s landing pads allegedly left behind four indentations in the ground, and nearby vegetation was scorched and burning. Could this classic UFO incident have been a hoax perpetrated by students at the New Mexico Institute of Technology? That’s exactly what UFOlogist Anthony Bragalia, who usually argues the pro side of UFO discussions, claims.... 
Officer Lonnie Zamora
In a September 23, 2009, blog entry, Bragalia wrote, “The Socorro UFO Hoax Exposed! (Famous 1964 sighting was a college prank).” The principal support for this conclusion was found in a scribbled reply to a letter by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling to Stirling Colgate, a noted physicist who also served as president of New Mexico Tech. The 1968 letter recently discovered in Pauling’s papers has Pauling asking Colgate, purely as an aside from other matters, about the famous UFO incident that occurred in Socorro, just a short distance from his campus. Colgate’s brief and enigmatic reply was, “I have a good indication of the student who engineered the hoax. Student has left. Cheers, Stirling” 

While there were a few others in the New Mexico Tech community who also hinted at knowledge of a hoax, the matter was never proven, and how such a hoax might be pulled off was, unfortunately, never explained. The noted UFO skeptic, the late Philip J. Klass, visited Socorro in 1966 and interviewed Zamora and others who had first-hand knowledge of the incident. Klass was puzzled by how little interest there was among the scientists at New Mexico Tech in what might be the first genuine alien encounter in recorded history, occurring literally in their backyard. Klass wrote, “When I pressed one member of the community to explain his apparent indifference, he suggested that I ‘nose around a bit,’” and he went on to explain that the town was seeking to attract tourists to strengthen its economy. Klass also noted the curious lack of symmetry in the “pad prints” supposedly left behind, illustrating how unsuitable such an unstable design would be for any craft. Klass concluded that the incident was a hoax to 'put Socorro on the map,' a collusion probably involving Zamora, the mayor, and a few others. If that is the case, Socorro has not been nearly as successful at milking UFO notoriety as another New Mexico town named Roswell. The assumption that the incident was a student hoax instead of one perpetrated by publicity-seeking town leaders changes Zamora from an 'active participant' to 'victim of the hoax,' which frankly seems more plausible.

Stirling Colgate
Now Bragalia has written, The Ultimate Secret of  Socorro Finally Told. He says that Dr. Colgate, now age 86,  has very recently provided additional information:
“It was a prank and I was very concerned for Officer Zamora.”
“No one would come forward on this, they were all embarrassed.”
“So many things were pressuring me and still are about this.”
“I did not feel that I could add anything by pressuring the students, and recognized it as a prank.”
“The students were embarrassed about the possible harm that could have come to Zamora (from the prank.)”
 But how exactly was it done? Bragalia writes,

Beauty is often found in simplicity. And so it is with Socorro. For all of the speculations about the hoax involving such things as tethers, remote control and flame throwers - it needn't be and wasn't. In the August 8th email from Stirling Colgate, he opened up even a bit further about how the students had hoaxed Lonnie. I had of course always wanted to know from him just exactly how the deed was done.  How did the students do it?
I stated to Colgate that he must know how they did it- and directly asked of him:
 “How did they do it? What was the craft made of?”
His short but telling reply:
“A candle in a balloon. Not sophisticated.”
I also asked of Stirling how many were “in on the hoax?” Again, a short reply received:
“I’d say about 3-6”
Two students standing in white lab suits - the "aliens" - and one driving the speeding car to lure Zamora, the intended victim of the hoax, to the spot where the hoaxers needed him to be. If you want more details, read Bragalia's piece.

Is this proof that the incident was a student hoax? Not yet, but we're getting closer. To me a guy like Dr. Colgate has a lot of credibility in "telling it like it was." Now that almost 50 years have passed since the incident, and Zamora has passed away, it is time for those involved to step forward and proudly confess their role in one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of UFOs.

Monday, August 6, 2012

News from Across the Galaxy - MUFON "Blockbuster" Fizzles!

As noted in a previous Galactic news dispatch of June 4,
The upcoming MUFON symposium in now promising "Blockbuster UFO Discoveries!"  They won't reveal what these are: you'll just have to register for the Symposium to find out. I'm sure they need to hype it like that to fill the seats. The non-member registration price has been raised to $329, up from about $225 last year (I can't find the exact figure), and the location has been changed from southern California, a tourist mecca, to northern Kentucky, not exactly a major tourist destination.
Well, today was the day. The Schedule at the Symposium read,
Sunday August 5
National Air Force Museum at Wright–Patterson Air Force Base
National Release of “Blockbuster” UFO discovery
UFO zapped by radar in Kingman, AZ
And what was the "Blockbuster"? According to Jack Brewer in The Examiner,
researcher Harry Drew took the podium in Covington, Ky., explaining he is convinced he has located two sites where alien craft landed or crashed in 1953. The sites are in the vicinity of Kingman, Ariz. Drew explained he believes the craft were brought down by triangulated radar running at boosted power to extend range. According to Drew, military personnel quickly retrieved and cleaned up the wreckage. The archaeologist and historian apparently included photos of the sites in his presentation, as well as presented information contradicting past accounts of the case and alleged crashes.
supposed UFO recovered at Kingman
Wow! More stories about saucers that crashed sixty years ago! It's a Blockbuster! (Actually, it's very Old News: a Google search of UFO CRASH KINGMAN 1953 returns 160,000 hits!) Brewer adds, "Don't shoot me, I'm just the piano player."

The Blogosphere was quick to dismiss MUFON's grandstanding. The UFO and Conspiracy website GodlikeProductions quickly sported a thread, "MUFON 'Blockbuster' Announcement Peters Out Without A Bang."    The Following the Nerd "Paranormal" Blog said, "The big build up to an earth shattering announcement from MUFON yesterday that they would rock the UFO community to their core proved to be more than a disappointment."

But if anyone has a True Blockbuster up his sleeve, it must be Steven Greer, who has kept it uncharacteristically quiet. In a previous Galactic News Dispatch on July 29, I noted
Steven Greer of CSETI announces that "The Disclosure Project and CSETI has teamed up with Emmy award winning filmmaker Amardeep Kaleka to make an historic new documentary on Disclosure, Contact and the suppression of New Energy." However, "No major studio or media group will touch this story : It is simply too explosive and world- changing for large corporate interests to embrace." So he is collecting nickels and dimes (and hopefully plenty of dollars, too, from folks just like you.) And it looks like he is very close to meeting his goal.
At that time I hadn't seen Greer's Blog posting of July 28. In it he announces meeting the fundraising goal for that movie. But he still needs more money! Why?
There is a chance that we may be able to include in the film “Sirius” the scientific testing of a possible Extraterrestrial Biological Entity (EBE) that has been recovered and is deceased. This EBE is in the possession of a cooperative institute desiring further scientific evaluation of the possible ET. We cannot reveal at this time the location of this being or the name of the person or persons who possess it.
Dr. Jan Bravo- who is a STAR Board member and a fellow Emergency Physician- and I have actually visited the group that possesses this EBE and have personally and professionally examined the being. It is indeed an actual deceased body, and most certainly is not plastic or man-made. It has a head, 2 arms and 2 legs and is humanoid . We have seen and examined X-Rays of the being. Its anatomy however is not homo sapien (modern human) or any known hominid (predecessors to humans).
As you can imagine, the security and scientific issues surrounding the further testing of this potentially explosive and world- changing evidence are mind-boggling. However, we feel we simply must proceed expeditiously but cautiously. The cost of doing proper MRI testing, full and dispositive  forensic-level DNA testing and carbon dating with other isotope testing are considerable and certainly not currently funded. We must rule out other hominids, bizarre genetic defects and so forth. But it is most certainly an actual biological specimen – and it may be – well, what it looks like.
In fact, nobody seems to have noticed this remarkable claim until one commenter, Bjorn Tolouse, posted a thread about it on the JREF forums. As I noted in a comment on the last News posting,
all Greer needs to do is pick up the phone and call Ray Santilli, the guy who produced that hoax "alien autopsy" video. "Ray, this is Steven Greer. Remember how much money you made on that fake alien autopsy film? Well, I have a REAL dead alien - how much money do you think we could get for a video of that?"
Then on a truly tragic note, Greer writes on his Blog on August 6 that the father of the Sirius filmmaker, Amardeep Kaleka, was among those gunned down in the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. The mind boggles at such senseless slaughter.

I'm being interviewed in DC for Nat Geo "Secret History of UFOs"
Finally, in between the near-continuous re-runs of Chasing UFOs, you may have noticed that a new program has turned up in the National Geographic Channel's UFO rotation: The Secret History of UFOs. This is the show that I and a number of other skeptics interviewed for, as well as a lot of non-skeptics, too. The show follows the familiar formula for UFO documentaries: the UFO believers gush on and on about their amazing sighting, the object must have come from another world, etc., followed by a short explanation from a skeptic suggesting that there may well be a rational explanation for it. On the show we see skeptics James McGaha, Tim Printy, Matt Baxter, and Bryan Bonner, as well as myself. Especially entertaining is David Jacobs, who tells about "the threat" (the title of one of his books) that alien abductions pose to the human race. And there is nothing we can do to stop them! Still, it's a better show than Chasing UFOs!