Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Society for Scientific Exploration Annual Meeting 2013, post six.

We're at the end of the road as far as any chance of good science, or even occasional honesty, is concerned regarding the intelligence community's handling of UFO affairs. The conclusion of the CIA panel was crystal clear: Open discussion of UFOs in ANY honest public way was directly counter to the concerns of national security. On the other hand, deliberate manipulation of UFO "news" so as to deflate the reality of the subject in the public's mind was PRECISELY what was needed. The USAF eased into this as far as the policies WITHIN the military were concerned, as they needed to continue to receive the reports of potentially serious airspace violations. But for persons outside the military the public policy arose quickly, founded upon a simple principle or two:

1). no one should comment publicly upon any UFO case which was not already solved;
2). in case of public insistence, if a case is unsolved, the public relations officer must say something to the effect that "we are looking into it and there is no reason for concern";
3). preferably, any requests for information by the public should be sent to the Pentagon.

To stiffen the policy, it was widely disseminated by a JANAP that any military personnel who talked openly about a UFO case was potentially subject to an extremely big fine, and possible imprisonment.
Incentives for engaging in loose-lipped discussion of UFOs was low.

In many ways the reality of the times was even more brutal than the policy. As the Ruppelt crew left Project Blue Book, and after some brief station-keepers [the non-serious Bob Olsson and the careful mouse, Charles Hardin] in came the most vicious anti-UFO project head ever {Captain George Gregory}. He had the exact intelligence commander needed, as back had come the vitriolic Harold Watson. The atmosphere at Blue Book was as hostile as it could get and still have a project at all.

This era could have spelt doom for UFOlogy entirely if it were not for one dogged man: Don Keyhoe. Keyhoe had his teeth into a bone and would not let go. He was the most tenacious man in UFO history {by far} and the person most feared by the Air Force [by far]. To pursue their strict policy of thwarting any momentum the public might get as to UFO interest, Wright-Pat and the Pentagon set up a five man team dedicated almost entirely to stopping Keyhoe. Not shooting him, of course, but shooting down all his ploys to get the subject before congress. This team consisted of Captain Gregory, scientific aerotechnology consultant A. Francis Arcier, Pentagon public relations spokesperson Major Lawrence Tacker [the most blunt and crude anti-UFO spokesperson ever at the Pentagon], and two other Colonels in liaison positions with congress.

Keyhoe and his NICAP organization would make some publicity noise; this group would plot strategy to foil it. A lollapaloosa case would occur; this group would meet in emergency to plan how to head Keyhoe off before he could get traction with the case in congress. Keyhoe would have a national television appearance scheduled; this group would try to ambush him on the air, or force the television people to severely circumscribe what he would be allowed to say. Astoundingly ALL of the things just mentioned, and more, actually happened. Yes, Virginia, this is the USA, the Land of the Free, but when National Security was felt to be involved, not quite so free as you'd suspect.

Attempting to gag and embarrass Keyhoe was not the only noble occupation of the unholy five. At Project Blue Book, the activity of George Gregory involved not only debunking new cases but going back into the files and re-writing the "solutions" to old ones. "Unidentifieds" were changed to "the star Arcturus" or some other preposterous atrocity. When James McDonald was, much later, allowed to read the microfilms, he was livid with rage. He tended to accuse Allen Hynek, but through most of this period Allen was, naively as always, chasing down Sputnik et al for the Project Moonwatch headquarters, and had little to do with analysis of new cases. Often accused by many people on specific cases later, Allen would look at the record card and say: that was not My analysis.

One particularly concrete example of information management was how the Pentagon handled the famous Battelle study of Blue Book case files. Battelle had been commissioned to make a study of the project files back in Ruppelt's day. By the time of the CIA panel, that study wasn't done. The naive "gee, this must be about finding the truth" guys wanted to postpone the Panel until Battelle could finish. Forget it, and on the Panel went.

When Battelle did finally finish, the Panel was long over and the manipulate-the-public policy was in place. Gregory, Tacker et al wondered how to use this study to forward their ignoble cause. Battelle had done, for reasons entirely mysterious to me, an array of cases labeled unidentified, as drawn in the illustration just above. It would seem that these cases were chosen to show how different every so-called "UFO" was. Whether this was purposeful or not, I do not know, but would like to. Certainly a much fuller array of drawings could have been made showing the eery similarity of most UFOs rather than these differences, and such an array would have been more honest. But that's not the way it happened, and this array was employed by Tacker et al to debunk UFOs as errors of observation by well-meaning but wrong witnesses.

By focussing on these drawings rather than the text, the gang-of-five successfully distracted the readers from what you can see on the graphs above. Battelle had divided all cases by potential quality of observer --- things like experienced pilots>>>everyday citizen. Then they took the cases within each observer category and divided them up by the quality and strangeness of the incident. What Battelle found was that statistically the higher quality observers saw, described, reported a higher percentage of unidentifieds. In plain language, better observers were more likely to have reported UFOs, not the reverse that the Pentagon was implying. Note the astounding one third unknowns by the best observers.

But what did Gregory, Tacker et al care? They were just doing their jobs... albeit gleefully.

This horror show persisted through Gregory's reign but onward through Bob Friend's and into Hector Quintanilla's. Hynek slowly came out of his stupor and figured it out that he was a dupe. But he made one last memorable bonehead by calling the Michigan 1966 sightings Swamp Gas, whereupon all Hell broke loose and he and the USAF got a public shellacking that they deserved.

At that stage of intel community dishonesty though, it was the best thing that could have happened, as it gave the UFO community one final chance to get out the proper word. That Great Hope became the Colorado Project.

I've written a lot about Colorado, even in several places on this blog. I'll not repeat all that here. What SHOULD have been Science's best shot at this subject {finally} became, for sociological and personality issues, a horrifying fiasco. It's an intricate story that you'll have to read elsewhere. On the "did they do science?" question, sufficient hints are in the listing just above to [probably] tell you what you need to know. The effort was pathetic and some of the individual behaviors worse.

Makes me indescribably angry that the so-called scientists didn't put on a better show.

I'm going to end my description of what I would have said at SSE if there had been time at this point in the historical narrative. At an absolute minimum we should accept that there were two major messages that the intelligence community was telling us throughout. One is General Samford's above.

The other is below.

Whether you "like" these two statements or not, they are facts of the historical narrative.

Till next time, folks.

Watch the Skies.


  1. IMO Condon.....to steal or modify a star wars line ala yoda "hope...left is no hope for condon"

    1. Yes. In my earlier review articles on the Colorado Project { particularly the JUFOS version and in the book }, I show that the so-called "Low Memo" shouldn't have been such a big thing, as it was just Robert Low used-car-salesman extraordinaire selling the Colorado Administration on the idea of accepting the project. Bob Low, in actuality, acted more like a scientist than anyone else on the project with maybe the exception of William Hartmann on photo analysis. While everyone else was pursuing their own selfish research interests and not behaving like a team, Low came up with a brilliant method/plan to pursue the difficult work. It was the other people who fell down on the job in a great variety of ways. Bob low was no perfect angel, but he has taken an extremely bad rap for things false and undeserved.

      The real "secret" USAF fixing of the conclusions was not related to the Low memo but to a letter exchange between Colonel Hippler of the Pentagon, essentially telling Condon in early 1967 what the Air Force wanted him to conclude. So, yes, "For Condon, Hope there is not".

  2. i have to ask this : how binding is the US military rule (forbids speaking about UFO related matters) to ex-military personel ? i mean is the non-disclosure rule apply to ex-military or just active military ?

    1. My understanding is that JANAP 146 or something very like it is still in effect as the publication covers any air-related security intel encountered "in the field". But, even in the heyday of anti-UFO USAF behavior, the more strict line items in the publication were used more to frighten than actually prosecute. When you add to that the overt statement by the Air Force that they are no longer interested in UFOs, and that the entirety of Project Blue Book microfilm [plus loads of FOIA] has been released, the chances of any military authority "coming after" an ex-military individual approaches zero.

      The exception to this would be any incident which involved not only a UFO but also something with high security classification, for which the observer already understood the on-going seriousness of whatever the classification was about. Until things like Top Secret elements of security matters are downgraded and declassified, oaths probably should be honored, even in very old cases. However, almost nothing associated with "old" UFO cases involves this.

      Also, if the incident involved was already "out of the barn" [i.e. the public had already gotten detailed wind of it] violations of talking about such cases [even to reporters] was not considered a JANAP 146 violation unless, again, it involved the revealing of secret military matters previously unknown. This doesn't mean the Pentagon was happy about talk, but it seemed to realize that silence was more damaging than admission in such cases.

    2. Can the military (US) do anything (ie persecute) if an ex-military suddenly spoke in public lecture and mentioning things that not true (for example an Ex Master Sgt saying he was in doing x things in military but in truth he is not) ? Also against these kind of people who lies about their service (claiming they are stationed in Area-51 while in truth they are not), would the US Military release somekind of disclaimer against such claims ? or the Military/Gov think its better to stay away and stay silent ?

      I'm not familiar with US Gov Law , but is it a crime to lie / exaggerate your Military experiences (eg adding stuff that didnt happen) ? This concerns ex-military people that said they see aliens at some underground bases and stuff like that..

    3. Unless the lying/exaggerating violates something concerning National Security that the Intel community thought was significant, then "no" lying isn't a crime unless it's used to defraud people of their property in some contractual arrangement. If no Security issue is involved, then the lying is a civil issue. America is a Kingdom of Liars --- just look at our businessmen, advertising companies, and politicians.



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