Saturday, June 1, 2019

To The Stars' Cable TV Series "Unidentified" Launches Amid a Frenzy in the Credulous Media

Watching the long-anticipated premiere of the series "Unidentified" on the "History" Channel, I saw little that was new or unexpected. Produced by Tom DeLonge, who organized "To The Stars Academy" (TTSA) which has more or less dominated UFO news for the past two years, it repeated the same claims that I and others have have already written about many times. Sandwiched between episodes of "Ancient Aliens," the first of six episodes of "Unidentified" concentrated on the so-called "Tic Tac" UFO, an incident involving U.S. Navy personnel in the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group off the coast of southern California in 2004. I will assume that the reader has seen the episode in question, or is at least familiar with TTSA's description of the incident. Here are a few things about that episode that I found to be misleading or incorrect:
  • Much is made of the fact that reports were made by highly trained military pilots, some with combat experience. The implication is that their observations are far more credible than those of just ordinary folks. But longtime UFO researchers recall that Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the former U. S. Air Force Project Blue Book scientific consultant,  wrote "Surprisingly, commercial and military pilots appear to make relatively poor witnesses" (The Hynek UFO Report, 1977, p. 271). The pilot is, and must be, focused on keeping the aircraft safely aloft, and not on watching some strange-looking object.
  • The Pentagon did not "disclose" or "release" anything about UFOs. This whole "disclosure" line came about from statements by TTSA's Luis Elizondo and others, and not from any internal Pentagon activity. The Defense Department's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) came about  because multimillionaire investor (and longtime UFO believer) Robert Bigelow, a  campaign contributor to Sen. Harry Reid, prevailed upon Reid, then the Democratic leader in the Senate, to set up the AATIP program. AATIP then funneled $22 million in contracts to Bigelow's company (that's how things are done in Washington). The only thing that AATIP is known to have produced are 38 papers in weird physics, like anti-gravity, wormholes, and negative mass propulsion.
    Chris Cooke claiming in an episode preview that the Tic Tac displayed 'instantaneous acceleration'
"we have no proof of any [official Pentagon] release, let alone what is being touted [the videos] is even the same evidence connected to this DD Form 1910. If we see a blatant disregard for the truth by Mr. Elizondo on display with this DD Form 1910, and we see the same disregard for the truth by To The Stars Academy as they have touted documents proving a public release – how can we believe everything or anything else from the same sources?"
Elizondo's slide showing the 'five observables'

In the first episode, Luis Elizondo spoke again about his "five observables", which I wrote about September of 2018. One of them was "Instantaneous acceleration," supposedly shown by the Tic Tac UFO's rapid disappearance from the IR video. In a preview segment from "Unidentified" shown on Fox News, TTSA's Chris Cooke attributes this movement to the object itself. Elizondo has  made this claim in his lectures many times. In reality, Mick West of the excellent Metabunk showed that the 'sudden acceleration' of the object was, in fact, due to a change in the zoom factor of the camera at that point.  Surprisingly, that comment was cut from the final show; instead, Cooke is heard to say "Somebody changed the zoom." But Elizondo repeated the 'instantaneous acceleration' claim on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox news just a few hours before the series premiere. As for the other four "observables," they are more accurately called "assumables" than "observables".

One recent development that is significant, and is not mentioned on the program or by TTSA: According to an article in The Drive by Joseph Trevithick and Tyler Rogoway:
the Times' story doesn't mention that between 2014 and 2015, Graves and Accoin, and all the other personnel assigned to Carrier Air Wing One (CVW-1) and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, as well as everyone else in the associated carrier strike group, or CSG, were taking part in series of particularly significant exercises. The carrier had only returned to the fleet after major four-year-long overhaul, also known as a Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), in August 2013. This process included installing various upgrades, such as systems associated with the latest operational iteration of the Navy's Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and its embedded Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture.

This is a critical detail. When the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group encountered the Tic Tac in 2004, it was in the midst of the first ever CSG-level operations of the initial iteration of the CEC.
In other words, in 2004 the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group got its radar upgrade, and soon was reporting 'unidentified objects' including the Tic Tac. In 2014-15, Carrier Air Wing One  got its radar upgrade, and soon they, too, were reporting UFOs galore. One could interpret this to mean that the radars had finally gotten powerful enough to detect the UFOs that had long been knocking about. But I think that a better interpretation is: the radars had gotten powerful enough to begin detecting birds, small balloons, insect clouds, ice crystals, windborne debris, and various other insignificant things found up in the air. Arguing in favor of the latter interpretation is that these radars are apparently no longer detecting anomalous objects, which itself is extremely significant. It suggests that, in all likelihood, after being puzzled by anomalous objects appearing on the radar, the operators finally figured out what was happening, and no longer are troubled by anomalies.

And in a last-minute bombshell, reporter Keith Kloor finally did what reporters are supposed to do, and ask tough questions about persons in the news making claims. Writing in The Intercept on June 1, Kloor's piece is headlined "The Media loves the UFO expert who says he worked for an obscure Pentagon program. Did he?" Kloor writes,
there is one crucial detail missing from “Unidentified,” as well as from all the many stories that have quoted Elizondo since he outed himself nearly two years ago to a wide-eyed news media: There is no discernible evidence that he ever worked for a government UFO program, much less led one.

Yes, AATIP existed, and it “did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena,” Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood told me. However, he added: “Mr. Elizondo had no responsibilities with regard to the AATIP program while he worked in OUSDI [the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence], up until the time he resigned effective 10/4/2017.”

That directly contradicts an email sent by a spokesperson for To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, a UFO research and entertainment company that Elizondo joined after he left the Defense Department.
Kloor notes that the only supposed confirmation of Elizondo's involvement with AATIP comes from Bryan Bender of Politico:
“Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed to Politico that the program existed and was run by Elizondo,” Bryan Bender wrote in December 2017. (Earlier this year, White, a Trump administration political appointee, resigned amid an internal probe into charges of misconduct.)

But Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood told me that he “cannot confirm” White’s statement.

As it happens, Bender, who is Politico’s defense editor, had a recurring role in the first episode of “Unidentified.” He appeared on camera numerous times as a kind of authoritative character witness for Elizondo, Mellon, and their UFO investigations.

So Bender cannot be considered an objective reporter on TTSA, and Elzondo's supposed involvement with AATIP is supported only on his own word. Kloor further notes that Elizondo will not respond to his inquiries, but obviously has no difficulty being interviewed by other reporters who give him softball questions. I have seen this behavior time and again among UFOlogists who are peddling dubious claims.

Not everyone is happy about Kloor's expose. "Disclosure" advocate Stephen Basset of the Paradigm Research Group writes,
It is the most egregious hit piece directed at the extraterrestrial presence issue and Disclosure I have ever read in 22 years. It measures up to some of the worst such articles written by Phil Klass, the most vicious debunker on record. Stanton Friedman presented a cogent case that Klass was in the direct employ of the CIA during his disgraceful career.
Note that Basset does not point out anything wrong in what Kloor has written, but he just knows it's got to be wrong. Clearly the piece has hit a nerve with E.T. proponents. And what Basset says about Klass is Loony Tunes.


  1. UFO's are real, what they actually are, is the million dollar question. I never had any thoughts about them, until i had close encounter with one, while on duty, in the military. I know what I encountered was strange, it was a solid object with extraordinary flight capabilities that define logic and science as we know it. What really convinced me, was the debriefing interrogation, I went thru, several days after the incident. A full bird Colonel in dress blues conducted the interview, which was strange in itself. The Colonel was in full dress blue uniform, except he wore no name tag. I had never seen him, before and since. Basically I told him exactly what had happen, all the facts, still fresh in my memory. He asked no questions, had no recording device. The Colonel looked very young, in his 20's, yet his hair was gray and he had weird blue green colored eyes, he was very big, and looked like a NFL linebacker. I had volunteered to take a polygraph tests, he said no, it was not needed. He said he believed I had saw something. Than he leaned very close to me and said, "you will never repeat this to anyone, ever again. Do you Understand? This was not a statement, it was a threat, I grew angry, but kept silent. Several days later I was called in to see the Base Commander. He told me I was required to sign these non disclosure agreements. When I picked up and read the first one, it said what I had saw was a helicopter. With my background, training and experience I told him that is a complete fabrication, a lie. When I balked at signing he told me, "if you want to continue to hold your security clearances and keep your career intact, you will sign." Then I asked him, "why the big cover up? He stammered out, "this is a national security issue, monitored at the highest levels of our government, the truth can never come out!" Realizing my future was at stake, I signed the papers, telling him, "I am signing these documents under duress and protest. I kept quiet, I got my promotions and even higher security clearances when required. I retired, and still kept silent, as hundreds if not thousands of other highly trained military personnel have done, to protect "national Security." An let elements in our government, lie to the American people, about what they know, concerning UFO's

    1. A 'How many cliches can be squeezed into the smallest amount of text' competition?

      Tall tales don't come much taller.

  2. "... these radars are apparently no longer detecting anomalous objects, which itself is extremely significant. It suggests that, in all likelihood, after being puzzled by anomalous objects appearing on the radar, the operators finally figured out what was happening, and no longer are troubled by anomalies."

    I'm curious: what is the source/basis for this statement?

  3. You haven't provided any background as to how and if a radar upgrade directly contributed to the UFO sightings, so I don't see how that is a valid point. There may have been several before...very, very likely there were... If so, that data will most likely come out too.

    The Navy just recently publically stated a policy change on reporting other words not relegating pilots who report them as crackpots, and taking them seriously.

    This struggle is nothing new. In the 40s, 50s, and 60s George Van Tassel used to regularly provide much needed counseling to pilots of all stripes who had seen and encountered UFOs and or "foo fighters", and had no one to talk to because their reports would get them grounded.

    In the 2004 case, were all of the sightings only detected on or by radar? Only visual? Both? You don't supply this data...and then insinuate radar contributed to seeing trash, birds, etc. That's a huge leap.

    Related to that, a quote from Hynek doesn't substitute for the pilots actual testimony, story, and experience. Where are the pilots descriptions of the experience, and why is this not included?

    "...the operators finally figured out what was happening, and no longer are troubled by anomalies." But do we actually know this, or is this your conjecture? Has anyone spoken to them and reported on it? Where is that data? Where are the interviews? Have you spoken to any of them?

    The Irish pilots recently had a similar sighting from what I've been able to gather...and there's no ruling out our US pilots have seen much more than has been publicized over the last ten years. But we haven't many people are afraid to speak out. A minor credit to how powerful the trap so many fall into of craftily changing the subject or discrediting people they've never interviewed nor spoken to as a means of "debunking"...

    We have to admit...debunking works...if we don't want to learn about the subject at hand at all. It hopes people will just stop... Stop asking questions. Stop searching. And to drop any attention to detail.

    The ones who aren't so scared of looking "kooky" to the debunkers will be much more informed on all this as time goes on.

    Lastly if one is a true "skeptic", this means they have the patience to peruse accounts and video captures from regular folk... If they connect the dots over time, they'll find similar and even better captures, and see for themselves there is not a doubt these pilots and many more saw something that wasn't trash, birds, etc.

    So much of this will be a grassroots process as people continue to share their experiences with each other and ask more questions instead of attempting to "speak FOR" each other. I look forward for when researchers and journalists do this as well.

  4. I may not agree with some of what you say, but respect your efforts and intentions...and thank you for your blog, regardless. As long as discussion remains civil, its awesome.

    Providing this link for reference. Seen above in the altitude of what would be the upper cloud layer if it were overcast. It was pretty high up there....

    I provide the link to show the characteristics of flight. This changes direction numerous times, sometimes abruptly at a 45 and 90 degree angles.

    It also flares on its corner as it changes direction slowly....further showing the change of direction is NOT due to camera movement.

    This is not a bird, drone, nor piece of plastic trash. I'm not saying its ET or alien or from off-planet. It looks like some kind of energy mass, so it could be some kind of earth-light we don't understand about much yet. I don't know what this is, but speculate its quite similar to what has been seen by some pilots, including the ones in Ireland...but haven't seen any images of those, so have no idea. I, like ALL of us are still in "data gathering" mode, so this is provided for comparison...not as a final thesis statement. Cheers ;)

    1. You have no idea how high up it was. Your just speculating. There is nothing in this video to suggest the object is as high up as you think it is. And your moving that camera around like crazy, means you video shows nothing. You need to keep the camera completely still, you most definitely do not show changes are not due to camera movement. If your camera didnt move then maybe. But your bouncing all over the place with that.

    2. To vancouverguy… That video seems interesting enough. It likewise cannot be proven to be close to the camera. Camera movement doesn't discourage me, at least (retired engineer)... there is enough reference material to get a general idea of the object being further out than closer in. Very curious movement of the object and there also seems to be many more randomly appearing. I noted some slight pulsation of the object of interest. I have to remain skeptical on this one. It could easily be hoaxed, but that Doesn't mean that is MUST have been. The shaky camera is understandable. I have done a lot of photography myself, and without a good support, often not available, one cannot capture this sort of event with a stable video.

  5. Read the SCU analysis of this observation.

  6. The cable ratings for 5/31/19 are in.
    Ancient Aliens - 1,303,000
    Unidentified - 1,286,000

    I believe that the AA averages about 1M viewers, but has dipped as low as 721,000.

    For comparison of cable shows in the time slot, the cop show, "Live PD AC" on A&E had 1,276,000 viewers, and "Hannity" on Fox News had 2,971,000.

  7. Conversation Tyler Rogoway @Aviation_Intel

    To The Stars Academy and their employee and ex-Skunk Works official and engineer Steve Justice have not teamed up with Lockheed Skunk Works. They have nothing to do with his projects at TTSA. This is from Skunk Works directly. Those reports appear to be false.
    3:22 PM · Jun 3, 2019 · Twitter Web App

  8. So what we are learning is that Luis Elizondo has NO documentary proof he headed ANY program, let alone a UFO program. And the news reporter, Knapp, has 400 shares in Tom Delonge's company, which is registered as a Movie video tape company at the SEC, NOT a scientific UFO research company...seems the real TRUTH is coming out! BTW, all those experts, Mellon, Elizondo, etc. are working for Tom Delonge, hence getting PAID! All too easy! I wonder if Leslie Kean is getting some type of payment from Tom....!

  9. I worked in the DoD for over 30 years, and unlike Mr. Elizondo, I do still have a document history showing what I did for those 30+ years, for each position I held (even the sensitive ones). He should also!
    Even during my time in DoD I was always interested in the subject of UFO. My co-workers knew this and others I worked with. Some who worked in areas where they may have seen things, did share stories with me... but I never saw any real evidence in all that time that flying saucers from other worlds were real. (Even though I wish I had)
    Well, after reading the multiple articles (this one included) now available after the showing of episode 1 of UNIDENTIFIED, not only will I be erasing my scheduled recording times for future episodes, but I will be very cautious of anything said by those involved in that series or recent AATIP video events. Oh well, these type people will always be looking for an angle to do what they've done; fooled those who were hoping for something new and exciting.

  10. Per the Black Vault website, the OUSDI spokesman, Christopher Sherwood, stated officially, that Luis Elizondo had, "no responsibilities with the AATIP program..." Now, is this final? Just awhile back we (the so-called, UFO field) had the Roswell Slide con game, now, what shall we call this one, if true? To the Stars scandal?

  11. I wouldn't take the Pentagon's attempt to discredit Luis Elizondo that seriously. They released that tidbit the very day after Unidentified aired, or something like that. It was an obvious attempt to undermine the show. I don't think they liked the showrunners framing Elizondo as a rogue agent fighting an antagonistic Pentagon. If TTSA had stuck with the story they'd been using till then, that this was a semi-official, organized disclosure effort, endorsed by at least some parts of the government, then that may not have happened. At any rate, the UFO community could have and should have expected some pushback from the government on this. No need to lose faith in Elizondo or TTSA over it. However, it does highlight the need for more information and corroborating evidence from them.

  12. Sceptic are so desperate for this(ufo stuff) to be fake because they world view is falling apart. Their religion is crumbling. Sceptics are the new creationist.

  13. Dr. J. Allen Hynek had his own 'five observables' or common characteristics of UFOs, back in the 1960s. Completely different from Elizondo's!


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