Wednesday, November 23, 2005
While Kevin is probably best known in the UFO world as one of the leading Roswell proponents, he's done work on, and researched, many other cases and aspects of the UFO phenomenon (most notably, abductions - see his book The Adbuction Enigma, co-written with Russ Estes and Dr. William Cone), including cattle mutes, which he investigated for APRO back in the 1970s (even before Linda Moulton Howe became involved in the subject).
Despite being a supporter of the ETH (which should be obvious to anyone who knows his views on Roswell), Kevin came to the conclusion back then, and it is a conclusion that he still holds to today, that there was nothing alien about the cattle mutilations; indeed, there was nothing anomalous about them at all. They could be explained, as the Rommel report stated (and as virtually every scientist and veterinarian who has studied the subject before and since has concluded), as the work of predators and scavengers, with the odd hoax and scam mixed in (for those curious as to what I make of mutes, you'll have to wait for the film to come out).
As always, Kevin was a great interview - witty, informed, and well-spoken. I may not always agree with him, but he's one of those ufologists for whom I have a great deal of respect. Thanks, Kevin, for taking the time out to chat with us - and for the fascinating back and forth re: some of history's great battles, a subject we both enjoy (he may be the only ufologist who knows the difference between Adowa and Islandhwana, although I'm pretty sure Karl Pflock and Brad Sparks would also fall into that group).
A non-UFO related note: one area where he and I tend to agree (in broad strokes, if not in every detail) is the Iraq war. Anyone interested in a first-hand view of the war, from someone who was actually there (and not a journalist or a politician on a "fact-finding" mission), should check out Kevin's latest blog effort, http://www.iraqwarperspective.blogspot.com/ (the photo above comes from his blog). It's important to have all sides of a story, and lately we seem to be getting just the bad side. Kevin's blog promises to be an informative source of information about... well, the other side of the truth.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Let's further assume that this person wants to see the end of the CWCSTE, and wants to bring the whole thing crashing down. After all, bad things are being done, a free and democratic society is incompatible with the kind of secrecy the CWCSTE would require, and the people have a right to know. One could also assume that this person may have less altruistic motives, such as inter-agency rivalries, or personal grudges (passed over for promotion to the MJ-12 steering committee, perhaps), as Mark Felt did. The rationale is irrelevant - the point is that this person wants the information out there, where it will have a real policy impact.
So how does he or she go about it? Whom do they contact, and how?
This question brings us to the crux of the problem with UFO leakers / whistleblowers, past and present. If they were really interested in accomplishing any of the goals set out above, they would have done it in another way than the one that they currently employ.
The MJ-12 documents are real? Well, who would you send them to - two of the key Roswell researchers, Bill Moore and Stan Friedman, and a little-known filmmaker, Jaime Shandera? Not if you wanted them to be viewed objectively, and taken seriously, by the mainstream media and the general public. Not if you really wanted to use them to break the CWCSTE (note to legitimate whistleblowers - you wouldn't send it to me, either).
Someone like Michael Salla, perhaps, or maybe Steven Greer? Again, not if you wanted to actually bring about an end to the CWCSTE.
Because these people - big guns of varying sorts in the UFO field - in reality have a very small public profile, and even less public legitimacy, not because they are dishonest (although some ufologists definitely qualify as "Snake-oil salesmen"), but because they have, as Kevin Randle would say, a "dog in the hunt," i.e. they have already come to a conclusion. If you were to leak documents, or information, to them, it would always be tainted as coming from "those ufologists," and as a result it would never receive the widespread exposure necessary to accomplish your aim of breaking the CWCSTE.
So, who would you leak it to?
Well, conspiracists and some ufologists aren't going to like this, but the answer is simple. The same kind of people that Mark Felt leaked his information to - the media.
Not everyone in the media, of course. It would have to be someone, like Woodward and Bernstein during the Watergate days, who were young and hungry for a great story. They would also, however, have to work for an established and respected news organization, like the Washington Post. They would have to have the support of their superiors, and they would have to know who you were, and that you had the credentials to back up what you were saying. Most important, you would have to be able to trust them (this would require some research on your part).
That's what it takes to break a BIG STORY. Consider it the "Perfect Storm" of journalism, and it only comes along once in a rare while (of course, you also have to have the BIG STORY, but that's, well, another story for another day).
Now, when you look at the present crop of "whistleblowers" - and here I'm not talking about people who have seen UFOs (those are witnesses, not whistleblowers - there is a difference) - ask yourself, have any of them taken the course outlined above?
The alleged MJ-12 "leakers"?
Nope, nada, nyet, and non.
Not a one.
Is it because the mainstream media is unwilling to listen to evidence that the CWCSTE exists?
Absolutely not. If such a story were true, and someone credible came to a reporter under the conditions outlined above, you can bet that they would run with the story - just as they did with the Watergate story, just as they did with Iran Contra, and just as they are doing now (ad nauseum) with the Plame-gate mess. It would be a guaranteed Pulizter, and a ticket to what I like to call "Woodward-ville," and / or it's somewhat less well-heeled suburb, "Bernstein-ville."
The problem is that none of these people, or their documents, are credible. A real journalist would sniff that out in short order. So they go to the people that no true whistleblower / leaker would ever approach - the ufologists. Why? Because there are ufologists (not all of them, of course - you don't see these people "leaking" CWCSTE stuff to Dick Hall or Brad Sparks) who will believe them, because, as Karl Pflock has said, they possess the "will to believe," despite whatever inconvenient facts might pop up to the contrary. For the bogus whistleblower, this is their ticket to ride, i.e. (a) a book deal, (b) some television appearances, (c) some conference invites, or (d) just a sense of being a somebody, no matter how small the community is in which you live (that "big fish in a small pond" thing again, or, as it should forever be known hereafter, "Hellyerism").
In short, their motives have nothing to do with ending the alleged CWCSTE. How could they end it anyway, when they know nothing about it (again, assuming for the moment that it exists, which is far from proved)?
If they did, they would go elsewhere with their information. That they have not speaks volumes about who they are and what they want - and how desperate some in ufology are to believe them.
Monday, November 14, 2005
As always, agree with him or not, Kevin's views are well-argued, and well worth reading.
If nothing else, Nick has now gotten Stan Friedman and Kevin Randle (the two best-known ET crash proponents), and Karl Pflock (the leading Project Mogul proponent) to all agree about Roswell.
Ufological hell has finally frozen over!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The parts that I am concerned about, however, are the ones that reference me and The Other Side of Truth. I don't mind people who disagree with me - after all, despite what my friends will tell you,* I don't walk on water, and I'm not always right. What I can't stand, however, are people who misrepresent my views for their own purposes. This is what Heath has done. His article contains several deliberate misrepresentations of what I have written here (I say deliberate because Heath is clearly familiar with this blog, and has left comments here more than once), and the views I hold, and at least one piece of sly smearing that, unfortunately, Stan is all too familiar with, having been on the receiving end himself many times (usually, but not always, by debunkers like Phil Klass).
So, here are the relevant parts of Heath's article, in italics, with my responses after them:
It might be expected that any viewpoint supporting the possible reality of ET visitation to the planet might be welcomed by those UFOlogist's who claim to be open to this possibility. But due to deep divisions between some UFOlogists and persons who advance the study of exopolitics, this has not been the case.
As an example, Paul Hellyer's statements to the Exopolitics conference in Toronto were mocked and ridiculed by filmmaker Paul Kimball of Redstar Films based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kimball's views are of some significance as he is one of the few Canadians to have an interest and financial stake in producing documentary films on UFO related topics. His documentaries include "Stanton T. Friedman IS Real" and "Do You Believe in Majic?" He is currently working on film documentaries on cattle mutilations and the ten best UFO cases.
Here is the sly smear part, right up front. According to Heath, my views are of "some significance" because I have an "interest and financial stake in producing documentary films on UFO related topics." This is no different than stating that Stan's views (or anyone's, for that matter) on Roswell, or MJ-12, are of significance because "he has an interest and financial stake" in writing / lecturing about Roswell, or MJ-12. It is designed to make me look like I'm in this just for the money.
My views are of significance - or not - because people choose to attach a significance to them, based on the research I have done, or the opinions I hold - not a financial interest I might have in making a few films about the UFO phenomenon, which is totaly irrelevant to the views I hold. Indeed, in the case of two of those films, I hold views which are contrary to those expressed by the leading subjects in the films (and in one case, my own views, which have changed since the film was made). Not the best way to drum up business.
[Full discolsure - Heath approached me in April, 2005, about doing a documentary project about the Kinross Incident, which he has researched over the years. I agreed to look at his materials, did so, and then passed on the project.]
One of Kimball's posts on his weblog "The Other Side of Truth" (http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/) was largely focussed on heaping scorn on Hellyer's nomadic political career "Ladies and Gentlemen – Meet the REAL Paul Hellyer".
The post Heath refers to can be found at: http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2005/10/ladies-and-gentlemen-meet-real-paul.html
The point of "heaping scorn" on Hellyer's "nomadic political career," which Heath doesn't mention, but which was clearly spelled out in the post, is this - the man is simply not credible. I wrote:
"In the course of his political career, Paul Hellyer has been a centrist, a right-winger, and a left-winger... and managed to burn his bridges with all of them, because, ultimately, the only political philosophy that matters to him is "Hellyer-ism," i.e. "ME ME ME-ism," wrapped in whatever mantle he deemed expedient at the time...
Given his history, I predict that ufologists can expect, within the next year sometime, for Hellyer to ditch exopolitics and ufology, and join CSICOP. Instead of Corso and Webre, he'll be citing Klass and Menzel. On the other hand, maybe he has finally found a home - a place where people will hang on his every word and treat him like the Messiah that he has always longed to be...
As I've said before, it amazes me that ufologists wonder why no-one takes them seriously. If they had just done a little research into Hellyer, they would have known with whom they were dealing, and this mess (and it IS a mess, folks) could have been avoided."
One can disagree with my assessment, but I'd like to see them discuss the facts of Hellyer's career, and try to explain why he should be taken seriously by ufologists now - particularly when he bases his conclusions not on what he did, said or even heard as Minister of National Defence, but rather on what he read in Philip Corso's The Day After Roswell?
As I keep trying to tell some people - especially the exopolitics types - a person's credibility is relevant, whether he is a witness, or a proponent of a particular case / theory. In Hellyer's case, he has what I, and many other Canadians among the ones who still have a clue as to who he is, consider "serious problems" in the credibility department.
However, I understand why exopolitics types like Heath have latched on to him - he was agreeing with them, and they have already demonstrated a stunning lack of discrimination in terms of whom they are willing to believe, and deal with (William Cooper, Bob Lazar, Clifford Stone, Wilbert Smith, Phil Corso - come on down).
His earlier post on Hellyer "Paul Hellyer – The Big Fish Flops" raised more specific issues relating to Hellyer's statement. Kimball's opinion is that if anyone would know about UFO secrets, it would have been Hellyer:
"Because if anyone in Canada would have known about the Cosmic Watergate, and UFO secrets, and alien bases, etc. etc., it would have been the Minister of National Defence in the mid 1960s."
This statement assumes that the Minister of National Defence is privy to all secrets contained within the Department of National Defence. It further assumes that any questions concerning the security implications of UFO incursions into Canadian air space would require a continuing policy review from the Minister of National Defence.
Well, yes, it does. And, given that the RCAF was tasked with investigating the UFO phenomenon during Hellyer's time at DND, it seems like a pretty reasonable assumption to me.
What if Canadian policy on the security implications of UFOs was already determined by our participation in NORAD continental air defence, established back in the early 1950s?
As usual, all folks like Heath are left with, in the face of facts and the logical conclusions to which they lead, are "what ifs?"
P.S. to Heath - NORAD is part of the Minister of National Defence's brief. I'm pretty sure Hellyer knew about that too.
What About Canada?
Did Canada have an active UFO study program in the mid-sixties? Did the Canadian government ever formally establish a policy direction concerning the potential national security implications posed by UFOs?
Yup - they had a policy in place from the early 1950s, as I've detailed in an ongoing (and still continuing) series here at The Other Side of Truth. See:
Also, check out earlier posts on the same subject:
There Never Was a Project Magnet
It is difficult to catch Paul Kimball's line of reasoning on Hellyer. Apparently he sees Hellyer's disclosure that as a defence minister, he knew little or nothing about UFOs as proof positive that the Canadian government has never had an interest in UFOs.
Umm... no. See the above posts.
He might be right that most people in government were at most puzzled by what they heard. But there were certainly some people in the Canadian military that had to be concerned about what was reported by pilots and radar observers in various military encounters with UFOs.
Kimball goes on to say "There was no super secret Wilbert Smith research project" in his efforts to debunk the notion that the Canadian government ever had any interest in studying UFOs. The project he is referring to is "Project Magnet", a program run by Department of Transport scientist, Wilbert Smith.
This is an egregious misrepresentation of my views. I have never said that there was no Project Magnet - of course there was. Nor have I ever tried to "debunk the notion that the Canadian government ever had any interest in studying UFOs" - as the various posts cited above make clear.
The truth is exactly the opposite - I have shown that the Canadian government did take the subject of UFOs seriously, and had policies and guidelines in place to investigate the phenomenon, particularly sightings.
The problem is that the fascination of people like Heath with Wilbert Smith has obscured the truth about Canada's history with regards to the UFO phenomenon. As with their current fascination with Hellyer, this is understandable, because Smith said what they want to hear. The truth about Smith is irrelevant to them.
I have written extensively about Smith:
The project was concerned with the idea that the earth's magnetic field might be the force used by the flying saucers for their propulsion. It later led to a small UFO detection station at Shirley Bay near Ottawa, Ontario.
Project Magnet was funded by government from 1950 to 1954 and the UFO detection station was publicly funded from 1952 to 1954. Although the project was supposedly secret, the UFO detection station was written about in several newspaper articles. It appears that publicity surrounding the station possibly contributed to the government's decision in 1954 to discontinue funding for the project.
Folks, it will take you some time, but you should really read through the posts about Smith cited above to put him in his proper perspective, and to put Project Magnet in its proper perspective.
Heath is right about one thing here - publicity did, at least in part, cause the government to shut down the small Shirley's Bay station (more on this in an upcoming post in the Canada and Flying Saucers series). Note, however, that it was publicity caused directly by Smith's talking to anyone in the media who would listen. As I've said before, not exactly the kind of man the US super-secret cabal of UFO cover-ups would leak the Big Secret to, is it? If they had been so cavalier with who heard about the H-bomb, it would have been the Nazis or Japanese nuking London or Washington instead of the Americans nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
Paul Kimball goes on to state "There was no secret plan to get an alien spacecraft to land in Alberta". I guess the point here is to disprove any notion that the Canadian military had any interest in the UFO phenomena.
No. As shown above - over and over again, and totally ignored by Heath with his misrepresentations, the Canadian military was interested in the UFO phenomenon (indeed, the whole point is that there interest tends to get lost in the Smith nonsense, or the "aliens were invited to land in Alberta" nonsense, which has been blown completely out of proportion.
Here Kimball must be referring to the article printed in the Ottawa Journal in July 1967, "UFO Landing Site was 13 Year Secret".
The article states "The Canadian Government 13 years ago made available the defence research board experimental station at Suffield, Alberta as a landing site for Unidentified Flying Objects, defence minister Paul Hellyer has now disclosed." The article goes on to state:
"Nothing ever materialized from that top secret project. No extraterrestrial flying objects ever sought to land on that 1000 square mile restricted tract of land over which no aircraft, civilian or military, was allowed to fly without special permission. The idea behind the classified project was that if any UFO tried to make contact with earth it could land at the DRB station without being shot down by defence interceptors."
This Canadian Forces Base is located northwest of Medicine Hat, Alberta. For decades it was Canada's primary research centre into chemical and biological weapons. It is also alleged to have been designated as a top secret reserved "UFO landing site" back in the early 1950s.
Yurko Bondarchuk refers to the alleged site in his 1979 book "UFO Sightings, Landings and Abductions – The Documentary Evidence". He revealed that Captain Douglas Caie, Public Information Officer from National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa stated regarding the alleged UFO landing site at Suffield "We have no record of any such program… From the information I have, we never had one."
According to the 1973 book "Aliens from Space" by Donald Keyhoe, US Air Force intelligence learned of the restricted landing site at Suffield in 1954. According to Keyhoe, the site was established when efforts by the RCAF to "bring down" a UFO failed. The intent was to lure the aliens into landing but there was apparently nothing to indicate the area was reserved for alien machines.
In the 1950s through to the 1970s, the experimental station at Suffield was Canada's main centre for research into chemical and biological WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). This included the testing of mustard gas and sarin on soldiers and other human test subjects. Suffield was also the primary Canadian test site for biological weapons such as anthrax, plague, ricin and botulinum toxin.
It is also alleged that the RCAF has engaged in many pursuits of UFOs with its fighter jets since the 1950s. It is perhaps little wonder that the UFOs would not choose to land at a site controlled by Canadian National Defence which is devoted to chemical and biological weapons research.
What was the source for this story? Why would the government designate a military base as a "safe landing site" for UFOs?
None of this is news, folks, and none of it is terribly earth-shattering. There was no "secret plan" to land an alien spacecraft at CFB Suffield, as Heath and some others have implied.
Here is what Dr. Omond Solandt, head of the Defence Reserch Board at the time, had to say about it:
"As I recall it we also indicated that UFOs would be welcomed if they landed at Suffield. Not one appeared."
This is a far cry from a "top secret plan," and it was based on Wilbert Smith prevailing on his superiors to make facilities available for his UFO interest - just as was the case with Shirley's Bay. It falls under the governmental rule of "no harm, no foul" - i.e. why not humour Smith.
And what did Smith base his belief that aliens might want to land on?
Smith's alien pal, AFFA.
If Smith had revealed this to his superiors, we would not be discussing CFB Suffield today
What I have found quite interesting about this, aside from Kimball's denials, is the whole history of Smith as it relates to Canada's UFO studies of that period. While investigating this whole episode of the alleged UFO landing site at Suffield, I was quite surprised to find out that there might be a connection between this "bit of Canadian UFO fantasy" and our favourite UFO/ET proponent, Wilbert Smith.
This story goes back to a UFO researcher named Grant Cameron. Through his interest of the alleged alien landing site at Suffield, he engaged Hellyer in a long period of correspondence with the purpose of locating certain information about the site.
Grant Cameron wrote Hellyer several times in the 1970s, trying to determine the identity of the top defence department official who had revealed the existence of the secret Suffield "UFO landing site".
Hellyer was never able to recall the name of the official, but told Cameron that he had searched his files at National Archives but was unable to locate his UFO file, which apparently contained notes from defence briefings on UFOs.
The story does not stop there however. Cameron states that in 1978 he interviewed Wilbert Smith's widow and asked her if she remembered anything about the Suffield UFO landing site. In her version of the story, her husband had been making efforts to convince government officials that the aliens existed and that they should make efforts to talk to them face to face, to learn who they were and what they wanted.
I've already addressed the subject of Paul Hellyer's credibility. On the subject of Grant Cameron's, see:
Canadian radio scientist and prominent "UFO Contactee" ran Project Magnet and UFO Detection Station for the federal government.
Here the story begins to get very weird. In August 1954, the technology publication "Aviation Week and Space Technology" reported that Dr. Lincoln LaPaz was conducting a study of two "satellites" which had been recently discovered orbiting the earth at 400 miles and 600 miles above the surface.
According to the article, the satellites had caused worries in the Pentagon as they were initially believed to be artificial. This was three years before the Soviet Union launched "Sputnik" the first human manufactured artificial satellite into orbit. The story was subsequently covered by several newspapers.
Some people believed that the two mystery satellites were alien spaceships. One of these people was a Mrs. Frances Swan, who lived in Eliot, Maine.
She claimed that beginning in April 1954 she began receiving channelled messages from the commanders of two alien ships orbiting the earth, AFFA who commanded ship M-4 and PONNAR who commanded ship L-11.
For some reason or another, AFFA was the main alien contact for Swan and other contactees.
Wilbert Smith, who was a strong believer in aliens, maintained contact with Swan and other "AFFA" contactees. He also allegedly tried alternative methods for establishing contact with AFFA on his own or through various intermediaries.
Back to the story of the Suffield UFO landing site…
Mrs. Smith told Grant Cameron that Wilbert believed that if the government stopped shooting at UFOs, then he might be able to get spaceship commander AFFA to land for a meeting. Apparently AFFA had given this indication in a contact to Swan. Smith indicates that he approached a top secret committee in government to relay this request and they had agreed to allow AFFA a safe place to land.
When Smith relayed this agreement back to AFFA, he was told that AFFA would also require assurances that he would also be free to take off without any interference. According to Cameron, Mrs. Smith told him that the top secret committee would not agree to this, and so the landing never took place.
As weird as this story is, it is at least partially true. We know that Wilbert Smith was "a UFO contactee" and a "true believer" that some of the UFOs were spaceships flown by aliens.
Mr. Smith really did receive government funding for his "Project Magnet" and the "UFO Detection Station" at Shirley's Bay.
The fact that Smith was a contactee is at the root of his credibility problems, and should be evidence for the objective researcher that he was not just an ET proponent, but a died-in-the-wool fantasist.
I'm not surprised that his wife believed him. What wife wouldn't want to believe the man she loved. This is hardly evidence, however. It is just Smith relating the same stories to someone who was predisposed to believe him.
We know that Paul Hellyer did apparently reveal that Suffield Research Station had been designated as a top secret UFO landing site sometime back in the mid-1950s.
His statement revealing this site was apparently made when he attended the official opening of the "UFO Landing Pad" in St. Paul, Alberta, which was a community project for Canada's centennial.
View CBC footage of 1967 UFO Landing Pad Dedication at St. Paul, Alberta, inaugurated by then Canadian Minister of Defence Paul Hellyer:
The context of his visit to St. Paul should be noted. There was an election in the offing, i.e. people knew it would be coming sooner or later, because the Liberals were defending a weak minority government, and so he was off to Alberta - a place notoriously hostile to Liberals - to try and drum up some votes (the election would come in June, 1968). Hellyer was also looking to shore up his own base of support within the party for a leadership race that most knew was coming, as Prime Minister Lester Pearson was soon to retire (he announced his retirement in December, 1967). After all, these are the things that politicians, particularly ambitious ones like Hellyer, do for a living.
As for the "UFO landing pad," it was an idea to lure tourists to St. Paul - as anyone in St. Paul will tell you today if you ask them (I know, because I have). Nothing more.
From Mrs. Smith's telling, the aliens never landed because the Canadian government wouldn't consent to granting the commander permission to freely leave.
What Hellyer was told and what was in his notes seems forgotten and lost with his vanished UFO file. The Suffield story seems to at least be partially true and it would be fascinating to know the complete real story behind it.
From what we know sitting in our stuffy armchairs reading these stories and perhaps getting a good chuckle or two, is that AFFA and PONNAR appear to have left earth orbit, probably not impressed with the diplomacy extended by the Canadian government of that time.
At this point, it should be clear that Heath, like Cameron, are as credulous as they come when the subject is Wilbert Smith.
I don't expect to convince them of the error of their ways. That has never been my intention.
What I have been doing is setting the record straight for those who are interested in the facts about Wilbert Smith, and the true story behind Canada's official investigation of the UFO phenomenon - which is a story well worth telling, and far more interesting than the bunkum spun by the Smith proponents, because it has the advantage of being true, and because it still leaves the door open to myriad possibilities, including the ETH.
Heath has misrepresented what I've said and written, because he has no answer for the facts. But then this is how the Exopolitics proponents operate. They're not interested in facts, or the truths to which they lead. They're only interested in their beliefs.
In this, they have at least one thing in common with the debunkers.
* My friends never say this about me. :-)
Friday, November 04, 2005
The problem with Iron is that it's inflexible - hardly the stuff of which true skeptics are made. True skeptics are more like quicksilver - always moving, always searching, always willing to look at new evidence, and always open-minded.
As Sakulich's latest reveals, "Iron" is exactly the right description for his type of "skepticism."
I've excerpted a few choice bits below, in a little game I like to call "Fact vs. Ficton," just to show how wrong Sakulich is. This doesn't mean that the ETH is real (i.e. the aliens are here). Far from it. What it does show, however, is that Sakulich isn't really serious about studying the UFO phenomenon.
Sakulich: The history of UFO cases is pretty straightforward, as much as the UFO enthusiast would like you to believe otherwise. In the 1890s, people began reporting seeing airships that looked like blimps or zeppelins floating above their cities.
Kimball: Er... no, not quite. Actually, there have been sightings recorded throughout human history (although you might often find them couched in religious or mystical terminolgy, which is how the people of the time would have described them, given their own cultural points of reference). Here's just one of which Sakulich is apparently unaware - from over 100 years before the 1890s - that shows he is off the mark:
In the latter part of the 18th century, Simeon Perkins, a prosperous merchant and leading citizen in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, kept a meticulous diary. In 1796, he wrote:"A strange story comes from the Bay of Fundy, that ships have been seen in the air. Mr. Darrow is lately come from there by land. I inquired of him. He stated that they were said to be seen at New Minas, near Mr. Ratchford's, by a girl about sunrise. The girl cried out and two men, who were in the house, came out and saw them. There were 15 ships and a man forward with his hands stretched out. They made to the eastward. They were so near people saw their sides and ports. The story did not obtain universal credit, but some people believed it."
Whether the story is true or not is irrelevant - it predates Sakulich's Aurora story by 100 years. And there are many others.
Sakulich: Not much happened for the next few decades, until people started to report seeing flying objects shortly after the second world war.
Kimball: Two words for Mr. Sakulich - "ghost rockets." Or, for those Dave Grohl fans, try "foo fighters." Were these alien spacecraft? I don't think that they were, but the jury is still out. However, were they UFOs (i.e. strange things in the sky)? Absolutely. And they predate Arnold's 1947 sighting. And, again, there are a number of other examples of sightings after the 1890s, but prior to 1947.
Sakulich: This is when the term 'flying saucer' was coined, and no one really knew what was going on.
Kimball: This is true, but it doesn't quite tell the whole story. The term "flying saucer" was a journalist's creation, and a misrepresentation of what pilot Kenneth Arnold actually said, which was that the objects (more than one) that he observed behaved as follows:
"These objects more or less fluttered like they were, oh, I'd say, boats on very rough water or very rough air of some type, and when I described how they flew, I said that they flew like they take a saucer and throw it across the water. Most of the newspapers misunderstood and misquoted that too. They said that I said that they were saucer-like; I said that they flew in a saucer-like fashion."
From then on, some reports did indeed refer to saucer-like objects. Many, many others, however, did not. Sakulich should take a quick peek at Dick Hall's The UFO Evidence, Vol. II, pp. 445 - 447, where he explains that a representative sample of UFO sightings shows all sorts of shapes, as follows:
Discs - 100 (44%) *
Ellipses / Ovals - 29 (13%)
Balls - 28 (12%)
Hemispheres - 14 (6%)
Cigars - 11 (5%)
Cones / spindles - 11 (5%)
Light sources - 9 (4%)
Deltas - 8 (4%)
Others - 16 (7%)
* Of the 100 "discs," 51 were discs with domes, 39 were saucer or lens shaped, and 10 were Saturn-shaped.
So you see, folks, the term "flying saucer" is about as inaccurate as you can get - it was inaccurate when it was first coined, and has remained less than accurate ever since.
Advice to Mr. Sakulich - try using the term UFO if you want to be taken seriously.
Or, better yet, UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon).
Sakulich: There were a few "flaps", during which thousands of people saw the objects, that concerned the government to the extent that the Air Force was ordered into investigating.
They were afraid that the Soviets could use UFO reports to cause confusion in the critical, early stages of some sort of Russian/American war, so the Air Force bent over backwards to discredit everything even peripherally related to UFOs. Even when they couldn't find an explanation, they really went to town to try and quell the publics' fears. Considering that the Soviets were well-armed and deficient in the morals department, I can hardly blame them. Anything that the Soviets could use to even a tiny advantage over us had to be neutralized. Of course, the UFO enthusiast sees things differently. They would have you believe that it was not crippling fear of the Red Menace that led our government to try and discredit UFO reports; rather, the government is in league with space aliens for some nefarious reason and needs to cover things up. I can also understand and respect this; the American people have a long history of not trusting the government farther than they can throw it. It's healthy to be a little paranoid about a group of people that controls our whole lives and has a giant pile of atomic weapons. On the other hand, thinking that the government is in league with space aliens is based on only the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence.
Kimball: And all of this proves... what, exactly?
If you answered "nothing," you would be correct. It is a red herring.
In fact, what one can take out of this mess is that the Air Force didn't know what UFOs were(and it wasn't just the US Air Force, as I have demonstrated with reference to the RCAF here in Canada). I agree with Sakulich in one sense - they were not in league with aliens to cover up the presence of ET on Earth. But that's not evidence that can be used to rebut even the ETH, much less the proposition that UFOs are an objective, if unknown, reality. In fact, the government was as flummoxed by it all as were the people who were making the reports.
Sakulich: Anyway, during the 1950s a group of people calling themselves Contactees sprung up. They claimed that they'd been contacted by space aliens and given some important information about how to live life without exploding our planet. Usually, they started cults and bilked people out of money.
Kimball: That's right - bring up the contactees! What Sakulich fails to mention is that the contactee movement was eschewed - very publicly - at the time by leading ufologists like Donald Keyhoe of NICAP, and has since been completely discredited by serious ufologists - as have a number of people over the years, like Philip Corso, Bob Lazar, and Billy Meier, who have played the same game in one way or another. That a fringe group still supports the stories told by these people shouldn't be used to tar all ufological researchers. After all, you don't show up at a geographical conference and start spouting off about the "flat earth" theory.
Sakulich: Over time, the contactees disappeared and were replaced by abductees, who spoke of substantially less pleasant contact with life from outer space.
The only real similarity between the contactee movement and the abduction enigma is that they claim to have "met" aliens. Otherwise, there are significant differences. Even the people who don't buy into alien abductions, like Dr. Susan Clancy (most recently), don't conclude that the abductees are hoaxers or frauds, which is what Sakulich implies they are when he links them to the contactees. The two are as different as apples and oranges (which does not mean that aliens are really abducting these people, but simply that Sakulich has misrepresented the facts yet again).
Sakulich: Here, for your reading pleasure, are samples of UFO cases that were proven to be hoaxes. I'm not naive enough to think that one can prove all cases to be untrue by proving some of them to be hoaxes, but perhaps after reading them you'll be less likely to believe everything you hear on the internet or in the supermarket checkout line.
Kimball: Er... perhaps Mr. Sakulich gets his information from the Weekly World News, or the Internet (which says all you need to know about him as a credible source), but there are some people - I'm one of them - that also go to the primary sources, whether they be witnesses, or witness reports, or government documents, etc. You should try it sometime, Mr. Sakulich - you may be surprised by what you find.
Having said that, I'll skip his first hoax (the Aurora, Texas incident, which was undoubtedly a hoax - you can refer to it in the original article), and instead provide a list and synopsis of a couple of cases that you will probably never hear Mr. Sakulich mention, either because he is unaware of them (tsk, tsk...), or he doesn't want to talk about them (I think we can all figure out the reason why).
RB47 Case - On July 17, 1957, an Air Force RB-47, equipped with electronic countermeasures (ECM) gear and manned by six Air Force officers, was followed by an identified object for a distance of over seven hundred miles and for a time period of one and a half hours, as it flew from Mississippi, through Louisiana and Texas and into Oklahoma. The object was, at various times, seen visually by the cockpit crew as an intensely luminous light, followed by ground radar and detected by ECM monitoring gear aboard the RB-47. Of special interest in this case are several instances of simultaneous appearances and disappearances on all three of those physically distinct “channels,” and the rapidity of maneuvers beyond the prior experience of the aircrew. The conclusions drawn by the Condon Committee in its 1969 report (Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects) described the RB-47 case as an “unusual, intriguing and puzzling phenomenon, which, in the absence of additional information, must be listed as unidentified [and] unknown.
Lincoln LaPaz sighting - On July 10, 1947, Dr. Lincoln La Paz, the world's foremost expert on meteorics, his wife and two teen-aged daughters, were driving, on their way from Clovis to Clines Corners, near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. It was a typical bright sunny day; however as they proceeded west, the sky told a different story appearing as a “confused cloud sea.” The time was 4:47pm, when all at once the family spotted a mysterious object hovering low on the western horizon within the clouds. La Paz described it as, “a curious bright object almost motionless.” Instinctively, Dr. La Paz approached the situation scientifically, trying to make calculations as to the size of the object. He estimated that the object was somewhere between 100-200 feet in length. Further physical observations made, suggest that the object was smooth and elliptical in shape. Its outline separated it from the clouds as it appeared sharp and firm, while the object illuminated a bright whitish color. Its motion gave the impression that it was a solid mass, and appeared to be “wobbling.” The family had a good look of the object for 30 seconds while it remained stationary, hovering in the sky. However, it slowly moved upwards where it was hidden behind a cloud. Though the family thought they had seen all they would of the object, it once again emerged, but now further north. The time that elapsed from when they lost sight of the object, to when it became visible again in its new position, suggested to La Paz that whatever they were witness to, could not be matched to any known aircraft, as the speed it traveled to get to its new position would have exceeded their capabilities. As La Paz watched the object slowly move south to north, he described it as self-luminous in comparison to the clouds it passed in front of. The object finally disappeared in the clouds. The whole sighting lasted an estimated two and a half minutes and occurred approximately 20 miles in the distance.
Vins-sur-Caramy - On April 14, 1957, Mrs. Garcin and Rami were out on a Sunday afternoon walk, approximately 1 kilometre east of Vins-sur-Caramy, France. It was 3pm local time, when the ladies walk was suddenly interrupted by an unexpected event. Startled by a deafening noise, the ladies turned to see the source of such a commotion. They were shocked to see a cone shaped object flying slowly above the ground across a nearby intersection. They described it as being metallic-like and approximately 1.5 meters high and 1 meter in diameter. Attached to the object were metal rods, which protruded out and pointed downward. According to the ladies, these antenna-like rods were vibrating immensely and were responsible for the loud noise they were hearing, as a near by road sign was vibrating violently, creating a horrible sound. Startled by what they were witnessing the ladies cried out. Louis Boglio, a farmer who was busy working about 300 meters away, heard the loud cries and odd sound. As he rushed towards the road to help, he was also shocked to see the huge top-like object and also witnessed the sign vibrating uncontrollably. Just after he arrived on the scene, the object leaped into the air, flying approximately 200 meters, where it touched down once more next to another road sign where it produced the same rattling effect it did on the last. From this point the object moved away from them pitching from side to side then across a field and soon out of sight. The object itself did not make a sound as it traveled. Two more witnesses apparently spotted the object in flight near the Village of La Moutonne.
Minot AFB (1968) - On October 24, 1968, various missile-crew personnel at Minot AFB reported observing the erratic flight of one or more UFOs. At about 0300 hours (3:00 A.M.) local, a B-52, about 30 miles northwest of Minot AFB and making practice penetrations, was asked to be on the look out for an unidentified object. In addition, the B-52 aircraft that tracked the flight of the UFO took scope photos of the target. The B-52 radar operator reported an unidentified blip on the radarscope at about 1-1.5 miles to the right rear of the aircraft. The object paced the B-52 for about 20 miles in this position. Scope photos were taken. Both radio transmitters in the B-52 would not operate properly. When the B-52 was forced to make a right-turn to the runway (into the object path), the object moved to the left rear of the aircraft and assumed a position approximately one-mile off the left-rear. Scope photo analysis would later reveal that the object traveled approximately 2 1/2 miles in 3 seconds, or at about 3,000 mi/hr., while maintaining to pace the B-52. As the aircraft descended for landing, the object continued its descent to near ground level and appeared to hover in one spot. At about this time a missile maintenance man called in and reported sighting a bright orangish-red object. The object was hovering at about 1000 ft, or so, and had a sound similar to a jet engine. The observer had stopped his car, but he then started it up again. As he started to move, the object followed him, then accelerated and appeared to stop at about 6-8 miles away. In response to the maintenance man’s call, the B-52, which had continued its penetration run was ordered to over fly the object and vectored toward the visual, which was about 10 miles northwest of the base. The B-52 over flew the object and confirmed having sighted a large egg-shaped object near the ground with the color and appearance of molten lava. One end of the object was a crescent-shaped protrusion. In this case we have a group of sightings made by personnel on the ground and at missile sites scattered around the base. There were radar sightings from Approach Control and the weather station, as well as, on the B-52 radar. There were visual sightings from the crew of the B-52, and an airborne radar sighting in which the target traveled at 3,000 miles per hour, recorded on scope photographs. There were sightings made by SSgt. Bond the FSC at Nov. Flight, SSgt. Smith at Oscar-1, Juliet, Mike Flight Team, and a number of men in widely scattered locations. The object landed at location AA-43. The entire observation lasted for 4 hours and 48 minutes. Fourteen other people in separate locations also reported the UFO. Security alarms were activated for both the outer and inner ring at the missile sites. When the guards arrived at the outer door it was open and the combination lock on the inner door had been moved.
And those four are just the tip of a very large iceberg of data and evidence that demonstrates that UFOs / UAPs are a real, objective phenomenon.
I'm sure Mr. Sakulich will be discussing them in his next column.
After this, Mr. Sakulich doesn't really have much to say, other than his cavalier treatment of the Hill abduction case (about which the jury is still out, despite what Mr. Sakulich would have you believe), so I'll head straight to his conclusion, and the challenge he makes.
Sakulich: To those of you who read this, I challenge you to a public debate at a time and location of your choosing, to which I will arrive armed to the teeth with cold, hard logic and common sense. To the rest of you, stop reading this tripe and apply yourself to something useful, like studying actual science. Be seeing you.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, late spring / early summer, 2006, after your classes are over.
My company will fly you up here, and put you up for a couple of days.
We'll also film the debate.
The terms are as follows:
Whether or not the UFO / UAP phenomenon is an objective reality, worthy of serious scientific, historical and journalistic study.
Cross-examination rules (oh, dear, I do hope Mr. Sakulich is familiar with the various formats for debating).
I'll come up with a neutral party.
A library or lecture hall of some sort - either public, or university.
In the "Negative" Corner (pictured at left), The Iron Skeptic - Aaron Sakulich, Drexel engineering student (cue Darth Vader's main theme from Star Wars).
In the "Affirmative" Corner (pictured below, right), yours truly, Captain Redstar - Paul Kimball, historian, lawyer, and documentary filmmaker (cue The Fixx, "One Thing Leads to Another").
I'm a big fan of democracy, so we'll let the audience vote. Vox populi.
Drop me an e-mail, Mr. Sakulich, and we'll work out the details.
But before you do, you had better familiarize yourself with the facts.
I've got plenty of questions for you - and I won't be talking about "flying saucers," hoaxes, the Aurora case, the contactees, or even the Hill case.
I look forward to hearing from you!
As the article notes, Piers was from my hometown, Halifax, N.S. - then, as now, the east coast home of the Canadian Navy. For anyone who is ever visiting Halifax, make sure you take the time to walk the waterfront, and take the tour of HMCS Sackville, a decommissioned WWII corvette. It helps one appreciate just how tough service on the North Atlantic convoy route was.
When Admiral Piers was inducted into the Legion d'Honneur, the ceremony was held in Halifax - the first time that it had been held outside of France. Admiral Piers accepted the recognition on behalf of all D-Day veterans saying: "We did our stuff, we were very lucky and we survived it."
Rest in peace, Admiral.
Note: for more information, see http://www.jproc.ca/r17/piers_bio.html and http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/Feature_Story/2004/jun04/11_f_e.asp. The photo shown below, of then Lieutenant Commander Piers addressing the crew of HMCS Algonquin prior to the D-Day bombardment, comes from the latter site.
Canadian naval hero Desmond Piers dies
Retired rear admiral Desmond Piers, the Canadian navy commander who led convoys through submarine-infested waters during the Second World War, died Tuesday at the age of 92.
When he was 28, the Halifax-born Piers took the helm of HMCS Restigouche, leading merchant convoys across the submarine-infested Atlantic to Europe for two years.
He took command of HMCS Algonquin when he was 30, giving fire support to Canadian and Allied forces during the invasion of Normandy. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. In part, the citation with the medal reads: "He has by his vigorous leadership and aggressive attack been an inspiration to those under his command."
Piers was also inducted into France's Legion d'Honneur in 2004.
He became a rear admiral in 1962 and retired in 1967, after 35 years of service.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
[original at: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/nov/m02-010.shtml]
"From: Richard Hall
Subject: Hall Oral History Project Needs Sponsors
Wendy Connors has very generously turned over to me some five hours of oral history interviews she conducted with me a few years back, in the form of digital video cassettes. A Canadian List member has volunteered his time to edit the tapes and produce a DVD master which I can then have duplicated and offer for sale. I would also like to have a VHS version.
The catch is that I can ill afford the costs of duplication, and so am seeking sponsors. Anyone who cares what I have to say about the UFO subject and my role in research and investigations from my 50-year perspective (please, please, don't break downthe doors... easy now, no stampede) is invited to contribute tothe project via PayPal or check (a.k.a.,cheque), or money order. Contributors of at least $50 will receive one or more copies of the finished product. - Richard Hall"
Dick Hall (pictured at left, standing, in the old NICAP offices in 1960) is one of the true icons of UFO research. His UFO Evidence (Vols. I and II) is perhaps the most important reference source for the serious study of the UFO phenomenon (Jerry Clark's UFO Encyclopedia being the other one). I would hope that there are plenty of people out there who care what he has to say about the UFO subject, and would take him up on this offer (and help him out in the bargain).
Kudos to Wendy Connors for recording the interview in the first place, and for now turning the tapes over to Dick.
Contact Dick for further details (i.e. how to pay).
[Note: see http://www.hallrichard.com/gallery.htm for the original photo of Dick shown above]
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
From UFO Updates Archives, at
The "Rod" is Rod Brock, who finally left Updates about a year ago, for many of the same reasons as I have. He was right then and, unfortunately, he still is today.
The post below is from seven years ago, however. The lesson is that nothing will ever change - indeed, things will just get worse - unless people want it to change, and then actually do something about it. If they don't, then they have no-one else to blame but themselves - not the government, or the media, or anyone else - for their irrelevance to society as a whole, and the scientific community in particular.
[For The Record]- P-47: Seti Signal Hoax
From: Rod Brock <rodbrock@HOTMAIL.COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 20:19:36 PST
Fwd Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 08:17:36 -0500
Subject: -[For The Record]- P-47: Seti Signal Hoax
Jan Aldrich wrote:
No one seems to analysis [sic] the actual stories; they are too caught up in the sensation to use rational thought. Instead of a critical examination of the content and context; an immediate furor ensues and God only help the "Nay Sayer" as he is brand a "debunker" for life. This Seti example is not strictly "fringe ufological," of course, but the craziness bubbles up from the same wellspring of misguided humanity.
Sounds about right. I quietly fumed about this sort of thing for years; more recently I have begun to speak out. And, in fine form, I have been called a liar, a debunker, a "small-minded puppet of the educational establisment," a "killer of truth," a "disinformation agent," a skeptic (uttered with the tone of a four letter word), and, most recently, the "biggest ego I have ever seen." (when you can't win the argument, call them an egomaniac or a skeptic, etc..oldest tactic in the book).
The website I have established is being developed with a mind to highlighting the sort of thing you speak of above - identifying and critiquing the irrationality, while encouraging rational thinking in ufology. However, of late, it has become abidingly clear to me what a small thing my attempt is in the context of all this madness - just one more voice trying to rise above the din, one faint signal in all that noise.
Nevertheless, to quote a song: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." How well I take after my forefathers...
The kind of thing you speak about, above, Jan. It's more than just a "problem." It's a disease. And it's spreading. Typhoid Mary is out there. This time, however, she can't be
quarantined. The best one can hope for is to educate people, and warn them away from her.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
For the original, see:
The Code of Practice for UFO Investigators
A. The Code is intended to regulate the investigation of UFO phenomena by groups, organisations and by lone investigators.
B. This Code of Practice is based on proposals discussed by representatives of leading national and local UFO organisations on the 28th March 1981, 25th April 1981, 13th June 1981 and 14th November 1981.
C. UFO groups, organisations and lone investigators are equally invited to subscribe to the Code of Practice.
D. Investigators who are members of, or acting under the auspices of, a UFO group or organisation which subscribes to the Code of Practice must themselves subscribe to the Code.
E. A supervisory body, with its members drawn from several leading UFO organisations, will administer the Code of Practice.
F. In the case of members, investigators and researchers for BUFORA, the role of that supervisory body shall be taken by the National Investigations Committee of the British UFO Research Association.
Except where specifically stated, words shall have the commonly accepted meaning, all cases of doubt to be resolved by reference to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
(a) Investigator includes both lone investigators and UFO organisations.
(b) Reference to the singular includes the plural, and vice versa.
2. Directive Verbs.
(a) Must indicates mandatory action on the part of the investigator.
(b) Shall or should indicates strongly recommended (but discretionary) action by the investigator.
(c) Desirable indicates preferable action by the investigator.
(a) Original report is the report made and filed by the investigator and may contain confidential material.
(b) Edited report cleared for general distribution and publication, may have been edited or rewritten and must not contain any confidential material.
Confidential information shall mean information not to be disclosed generally.
Publication includes UFO (and other) periodicals, newspapers, circulars, news media, hard cover and soft cover books, and electronic media (e-mail, web sites, etc.)
Code of Practice
This code of practice consists of three sections:
Responsibility to the witness;
Responsibility to the public; and
Responsibility to UFOlogy.
6. Responsibility to the Witness
6.1 The identity of the witness to a UFO event is confidential and must not be disclosed unless written consent is obtained from the witness to release such information. (Section 8.4 refers.) Confidential material includes the name of the witness, home address or place of work, telephone numbers, or other data that may allow the identity of the witness to be ascertained.
6.2 The witness must be advised of the consequences which may arise if the information specified in section 6.1 is released.
6.3 Insofar as is practical, all interviews shall be by prior appointment.
6.4 It is desirable that all interviews shall be conducted by two investigators, and in the event of the witness being a woman or minor (under 16 years of age) that one of the investigators is female.
6.5 All requests by the witness (or, in the case of a minor, a parent or other responsible person) for a third party to be present during an interview must be honoured.
6.6 If the witness categorically refuses to co-operate in any way, or to meet another investigator, he or she must not be approached further, the option for further contact resting with the witness.
6.7 An investigator must not enter or attempt to enter any private property without the permission of the owner, tenant (or occupier) or authorised agent.
6.8 Any damage to property caused by an investigator during the course of an investigation (for which the investigator admits liability) shall be made good by that investigator.
6.9 Specialised techniques, or equipment must not be used during the interviewing of a witness other than by the written consent of the witness and the use of any such aid or aids shall be restricted to interviews conducted by fully qualified practitioners. See paragraph 6.12 for the use of regression hypnosis.
6.10 The witness is entitled to be informed of the conclusions reached if he or she so requests.
6.11 Due consideration should always be given to the health and welfare of the witness.
6.12 Note regarding the usage of regression hypnosis and related techniques.
The BUFORA NIC has an ongoing moratorium on the use of regressive hypnosis (or any associated techniques) during a case investigation. This moratorium has been in place since 1988 and continues with the unanimous support of the NIC. Should the witness or a third party insist they wish to undergo regressive hypnosis, the investigator should ensure that they point out the major problems with this method, particularly its unreliability and possible distortion in an understanding of their experience as it represents a "truth" as understood by the witness rather than an "objective truth" about the event. It should also be pointed out that hypnosis may accentuate any problems, psychological or otherwise which have emerged from their experience. However, should it be decided by the witness and other concerned parties that such action may be beneficial to the witness as a therapeutic tool, then the investigator may recommend a qualified practitioner or contact one of BUFORA’s Psychological Consultants for their professional support. It should also be pointed out to the witness that they must follow this route independently of BUFORA’s investigation.
BUFORA investigators who may belong to other groups will be expected to adhere to this moratorium within investigative procedures in their other groups AT ALL TIMES. Should they decide to use hypnosis during an investigation within another group, this will be in direct opposition to the BUFORA NIC moratorium on hypnosis or related techniques and therefore would make their position within the BUFORA NIC no longer tenable.
7. Responsibility to the public
7.1 All investigators must so far is practicable co-operate fully with police and any other official body, particularly in circumstances which may affect national security. (Section 8.4 refers)
7.2 If, during any investigation, a situation is encountered which is, or is liable to become, dangerous to the general public, or result in damage to property, the investigator must without delay notify the police or other responsible body and take all reasonable steps to protect public and property.
7.3 No information gained during an interview shall be made available prematurely to the news media.
7.4 The investigator shall not issue unsupported statements to the news media concerning any case.
7.5 Investigators are reminded that they have no special privilege and may be required to disclose confidential information to a court of law.
8. Responsibility to UFOlogy
8.1 The free flow of information shall not be restricted for personal gain; where possible the investigator shall make data available promptly to accredited investigators, with due credit being given to the source of that information in return.
8.2 All interviews regarding cases of high strangeness shall be recorded on audio tape, video tape or other recording device unless the use of a recorder is objected to by the witness (or other responsible person in the case of a minor).
8.3 All reports should indicate the persons present, and their status, during interviews.
8.4 Any information, confidential because of factors inherent within this code, must not be made available in the edited report. Only the edited report should be made available for external use.
(NB. Unless released by the witness, the witness’s identity is confidential and must not be included in the edited report. To fully protect witnesses in sensitive occupations, it may be desirable to restrict details of the time, place and circumstances of the incident to such UFO investigators and researchers as ‘need to know’.)
8.5 An investigator should not discuss his or her personal theories with a witness during the course of an investigation.
Declaration of the adoption of the Code of Practice for UFO Investigators
To be completed by the investigator:
I, the undersigned, have read and understood the Code of Practice for UFO Investigators and state that :
1. I wish to be registered as a subscriber to the above Code of Practice;
2. I will conform to the clauses and principles of the Code of Practice when engaged in UFO investigations or research; and
3. I understand that I may be required to give account to the supervisory body (the National Investigations Committee for members of the British UFO Research Association) of any failure to conform to the Code of Practice for which I am responsible.
Full name (block capitals please):
Accepted on behalf of BUFORA: (Name)
He called me a "Christo-Fascist" at his website today (among many other things, including, as if being a "Christo-Fascist" wasn't bad enough, an "anti-ufological fascist."). Again, this is a website that you can link to directly from www.virtuallystrange.net, the home of UFO Updates.
I guess we know which side of the line of reasoned, responsible and civil discourse Mr. Lehmberg stands on. How Mr. Bruce-Knapp responds will tell you the side of that line on which he stands.
In the meantime, both Isaac Koi and Joe McGonagle from the United Kingdom have made me aware of the UFOlogyinuk Policy Document. Ufologyinuk is a mailing list, not dissimilar in purpose to UFO Updates. Their "policy document" is, in many respects, a "code of conduct," and is a useful point of reference for anyone running a list, forum, or discussion group. Within the document you can find a link to the Code of Practice for investigators that BUFORA has adopted - another area that needs addressing on this side of the "Pond."
UFOlogyinuk Policy Document
1. Purpose and scope of this document
1.1 This document is intended to provide guidance for the day-to-day business of the UFOlogyinuk mail list, to include policy-making processes, member discipline, and policies relating to the public relationships attributable to the members of the mail list.
2.1 Membership of the list is open to anyone with an interest in UK UFOlogy. There are no requirements to hold any particular belief as to the origin of the phenomena, nor is anyone excluded because they hold a particular belief.
2.2 Membership will not be revoked, restricted, or refused on the basis of race, colour, creed, sexual orientation, or any other matter that has no direct bearing on the operation of the list.
2.3 Members are not required to disclose their identity, though they are encouraged to do so.
2.4 Members may hold more than one account, if they have reasonable cause to do so, so long as they a) notify the list that they operate multiple accounts, and identify the accounts which they operate. b) Comply with section 5.2.9 regarding polls.
2.5 Members are free to constructively criticise the working practices or belief systems of other members for the purposes of debate, so long as such criticism does not amount to a personal attack.
2.6 Membership can be revoked or restricted at any time by the list- owner, if the list-owner is of the opinion that a member has made a personal attack on a list-member, or is attempting to disrupt the smooth operation of the list.
2.7 Membership can also be revoked or restricted following a vote in accordance with the poll criteria described in the section headed ‘Policy making process’.
3.1 Members may post messages about any topic, which is relevant to UK UFOlogy, including topics about major foreign events, which may have some speculative relevance to the UK, e.g. Roswell. Also included are postings which apply generally to the subject of UFOlogy, e.g. the Abduction Phenomenon, Space Science, etc.
3.2 Members may occasionally post items advertising their group, book, website, or public event, so long as such postings do not interfere with the general postings on the list.
3.3 The use of excessive bad language may result in a member being moderated or removed from the list. It is entirely at the discretion of the list owner to decide what is considered to be excessive bad language.
3.4 Postings of evangelical material with the intent of attracting members to a particular religion or cult is not permitted.
3.5 File attachments cannot be posted via the service. Any files that a member wishes to share should be placed in the shared files area, and the URL posted to the list.
3.6 Content of any posted message remains the copyright of the poster. If anyone wishes to use material posted on the list elsewhere, they must first obtain the permission of the person who posted it.
3.7 Responsibility for ensuring that a posting on this list does not breach any copyright lies with the poster.
3.8 Cross posting from other lists is permitted, but only the parts of the cross-posted article that are relevant are to be included in the posting, plus an acknowledgement of the original source of the article.
3.9 Members are required to observe basic internet manners, or "netiquette". Guidance on this is available in the file rfc1855-netiquette.txt which can be found in the group admin folder at: http://www.smartgroups.com/vault/ufologyinuk/Admin
3.10* Anyone making allegations of impropriety of any sort against any other member of the UFO community must name the person(s) concerned. The person making the allegation assumes full responsibility for ensuring that their post does not contravene the laws of libel as applied under UK law. Posts known to contain libellous comments will be deleted, and the poster may be subject to disciplinary action (quite apart from any penalties incurred under UK law).
4. Publication under the banner of UFOlogyinuk
4.1 Members are encouraged to publish under the banner of UFOlogyinuk, as this helps to promote the group in the UFO community.
4.2 Prior to publication, any article must be submitted to the list for peer review, following which, a poll will be taken in accordance with the poll criteria described in section 5, which will determine whether or not the article is to be published in such a way.
4.3 Contentious methods of investigation may be referred to in an article, but can not be used to support a conclusion. Examples of contentious methods include Remote Viewing and Regressive Hypnosis.
4.4 Anyone making a publication under the UFOlogyinuk banner who has not complied with the conditions in this section may have their membership restricted or revoked.
4.5 The Author of any article published under the banner of UFOlogyinuk will retain the copyright of the article, unless they express their desire to transfer the copyright ownership to the list.
5. Policy making process
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Because Updates has become more about ego gratification and personal attacks, and less about a reasoned and rational debate / discussion about the UFO phenomenon. Frankly, I had enough.
Then, just days later, this latest brouhaha erupts between the RRR Group and Alfred Lehmberg. Because RRR cc'ed me on their original question re: Mr. Lehmberg, which was sent to Errol Bruce-Knapp, Mr. Bruce-Knapp cc'ed me on his response. It can be found at http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/oct/m31-007.shtml.
My response, sent in an e-mail to Messrs. Lehmberg, Bruce-Knapp, and Reynolds et al, and copied to a number of List subscribers and leading ufologists, was as follows:
I have withdrawn from Updates, prior to this current RRR - AL brouhaha. Therefore, there is no need to send me anything that is related to Updates.
What Jay did was wrong. Even in private. If I had been Errol, I would have booted him from Updates too. I have a great deal of difficulty thinking of anything worse than being linked to child porn, short of murder. So - and I don't want there to be any misunderstanding here - it was wrong.
Having said that, let me say this:
I would have booted Wendy Connors from Updates when she smeared Rich Reynolds [see: www.redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2005/06/good-bad-in-ufology.html]. I would have booted Mr. Lehmberg a long time ago, for his smear attacks at Alien View (to which www.virtuallystrange.net, which hosts Updates, has a direct link) and elsewhere on me and so many others. Errol, you took no action against Ms. Connors after her remarks against Reynolds, and you have done and continue to do nothing about Mr. Lehmberg. Again, that is wrong. You are employing a double standard.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with the UFO phenomenon, or a reasoned and rational debate. People can disagree - even vehemently - without it getting personal. But that isn't the way it seems to go with some in ufology these days.
And it was for this reason that I left Updates (without any public fanfare), which was once a significant tool to aid in legitimate research. Not anymore. It is now a symbol of the intellectual
bankruptcy of contemporary ufology. There are good people in the "field" - I am copying this e-mail to some of the ones that I know and have corresponded with over the years, or worked with, in the hopes that maybe they'll finally stand up and say "enough," and withdraw from any list or group that allows this kind of behaviour - no matter what the source.
Frankly, to paraphrase the Joker in Batman, what ufology needs is an enema.
Here's another suggestion - ufologists agree to draw up a uniform code of conduct, with same basic general principles. Lawyers do it. We do it in the film industry. Most groups of people do it. Perhaps it's time for ufology as well. People could then sign it - as Canadian producers do, for example, with the Independent Production Agreement with ACTRA - and would be bound by it. They would agree not to participate in any list or group that did not agree to be bound by the uniform code, nor attend any conference etc., or appear on any radio or television program, that did not similarly agree. And so on.
In other words, get together and set an example.
Until then, the considerable efforts of the various people I have copied this e-mail to will continue to be largely ignored.
And that's the real shame."
This is a subject that I have addressed before at The Other Side of Truth - see "The Good & the Bad in Ufology" for example (www.redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2005/06/good-bad-in-ufology.html) and "Separating 'Business' from 'Personal"
Until this nonsense stops - and that will require the "elder statesmen" of ufology to put aside their differences and agree to some code of conduct (does anyone think Mr. Bruce-Knapp would countenance Mr. Lehmberg's viciousness if Stan Friedman, Kevin Randle, Dick Hall, Jerry Clark, John Rimmer, Brad Sparks et al told him that they were leaving unless he did something about it), nothing will change. If they fail to do this, from hereon out they can consider themselves as far beyond the pale as people like Alfred Lehmberg and Christopher Jay have become because, by their silence, they will be allowing such behaviour to continue.
Here's a suggestion.
Adopt some of the relevant rules that govern lawyers in the Province of Nova Scotia (similar rules exist in all Canadian jurisdictions).
A good place to start would be Chapter 13 of the Nova Scotia Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct Handbook - "Duties to Other Lawyers."
"A lawyer has a duty to treat and deal with other lawyers courteously and in good faith."
Substitute "ufologist" for "lawyer."
That doesn't mean an end to spirited disagreements about theories, or evidence, or even the question of the existence or non-existence of life on other planets / in other dimensions. What it does mean is an end to the petty bickering and the personal attacks on people who might hold views other than your own.
After all, one can criticize the position a person holds without criticizing the person. Educated, rational and mature adults understand that.
So, for everyone willing to conduct themselves as adults, it's time to stand up and be counted. Past sins and transgressions should be considered water under the bridge. Let everyone - Mr. Lehmberg and Mr. Jay included, if they agree - begin with a clean slate, should they accept the basic rule set out above.
Let the focus be on the issues, the cases, and the evidence, from hereon in.
Consider me the first person to step forward.
I hope I won't be the last.