James Carrion is a former international director of the Mutual UFO Network, a former signals intelligence analyst for the US Army and an IT manager. He is the author of the recently released book, The Rosetta Deception, in which he presents research focusing on the years 1946 and 1947 that suggests deception operations conducted by the intelligence community likely effected public perception of UFOs. Carrion was interviewed by hosts of The Paracast Gene Steinberg and Christopher O'Brien in a two and a half hour podcast published July 20. I think some of his perspectives deserve consideration, so let's jump right in.
Just prior to the 17-minute mark of the podcast, Carrion was asked where he first saw evidence of deception in ufology.
"I would have to say during the time I was in MUFON," he explained. "When I first joined the organization, just like everybody else, I was very curious. I wanted to know why this subject was still a mystery. The more I started to look into it, the more I started to research it, and the higher that I got up in the organization, the more I could see that there was a large element of human deception involved.
"A lot of the cases, for example, that I investigated personally during MUFON, there was no paranormal. There was no extraterrestrial aspect to a lot of these cases. A lot of it boiled down to strange people passing strange stories – and of questionable backgrounds – and really trying to spin the whole rumor mill around the subject."
Carrion offered a couple examples of such circumstances, then added, "We get a lot of these strange characters that just pop into the UFO field. They make these grandiose claims and none of it really pans out."
At the 2:06:30 point of the interview, Carrion commented on MUFON in general. Are they sincere or advancing disinformation?
"I don't think you can really label it that easily. I think there are folks that genuinely have – in the organization – that have a genuine interest in knowing the truth. I think there are folks in the organization that are very much true believers and they discard a lot of evidence presented to them... I've fallen out of favor with MUFON in that they lost their way. Their motto is the scientific investigation of UFOs and you would be hard pressed to find anything that resembles science in that organization.
"I think that's reflected in these shows that they're doing on Discovery Channel. You know, it's almost embarrassing to watch to see MUFON lower themselves to repeating mythology and repeating folklore and repeating outrageous allegations, and not sticking to what they should be sticking to, which is pure science."
At 2:16:00, Carrion addressed challenges inherent to investigating reported UFO sightings.
"It mostly had to do with deception. There was some level of deception. I call it 'unknown deception' because I don't know if these folks that perpetrated it had a personal reason for doing it – ya know, they just wanted to go out there and perpetrate a hoax, if there was a money aspect to it or there may be an intelligence agency aspect to it. All I know, it was human involvement and nothing highly strange about it."
He continued, "I have to say something that I think a lot of people in ufology may not like to hear, and that is - I think the bottom line is - there are folks that are in the field that call themselves ufologists, call themselves researchers, investigative journalists – whatever they want to call themselves, it doesn't really matter – but when their modus operandi is to perpetuate the mystery instead of solving it, we have a big issue. We have a big problem because the mystery will never get resolved as long as these people are out there hawking their latest theories or the latest controversy for controversy's sake, or their latest witness, or their latest 'lead' investigation – whatever you want to call it, it doesn't really matter – but if you don't have a sincere interest in truth, if you're simply interested in making the rounds of the UFO talk circuit... you're part of the problem, not part of the solution."
Around the 1:29:00 point, Carrion was asked if any UFOs are "real".
"Ya know, honestly I can't tell you. I'm not saying that every single UFO sighting in 1946 or 1947 had to be Rosetta or our intelligence community. Who knows? There are things out there in the universe we simply can't explain. There are mysteries that we can't explain. All I know is that in such a concentrated time frame we had very strange things going on that to me fit more a Cold War and intelligence operation than fit any sort of other explanation.
"Could there have been other things flying around the atmosphere? Sure. What they are, I don't know. All I know is that what I've been able to research and what I have been able to uncover here shows more of a terrestrial explanation."
1:36:30 Could some of the early reported abductions have been mind control or drug experiments?
"I would say that may very well be, so I think it may be part of this mushrooming; this inability to contain what started off as a myth that was created by mundane hands."
1:53:00 Absent deliberate deception, does any evidence remain that points to an extraterrestrial explanation?
"Well, I can tell you that my belief is that what the activity surrounded in 1946 and 1947 was, from my point of view, a strategic deception operation, so definitely involving military intelligence agencies. That's a very interesting question because this is where we get into the bucket argument. What I call the bucket argument is that people who are believers or that truly believe in UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation, they want to have one bucket of evidence. Everything gets thrown into this bucket, right? From the building of the pyramids to the foo fighters to ghost rockets to Roswell to you name it, it all goes into one large bucket. If you try to take anything out of that bucket, well, no, no, no, you can't, because all the other stuff in the bucket means it's extraterrestrial or there's 'proof' there.
"I think that is not the way to approach the subject at all. I think you have to compartmentalize your research. I think you have to focus your research into certain discreet cases and discreet time frames, and, really, you can't just pile up all the evidence and say it all makes sense together. It simply doesn't, because, I'll be honest, and tell you that I believe that there is life out there in the universe. I think the possibility of life not being out there, life not being out there, is absolutely nil. Statistically, there is life out there on other planets.
"The question is have they arrived here, either today, in the near past or in the very distant past. It's very plausible that we had alien visitation way back whenever, or it could be very plausible that we have alien visitation today. So I'm not saying that's not a possibility. I'm not saying that at all.
"What I am advocating is that the early days of UFOs – the modern day UFO era, 1946-1947, that time frame - I don't believe had anything to do with extraterrestrial visitation."
2:04:00 Does the intelligence community manipulate the public perception of ET and possibly such circumstances as the Skinwalker Ranch to its advantage?
"Absolutely. I think the large amount of mythology that surrounds Area 51, for example, a lot of that was originated in the military as an operation to just cover up what was really happening at Area 51, which was very mundane in nature. So I think that the intelligence establishment uses the phenomena, uses the mythology, uses the subject to cover up any number of mundane operations.
"Ya know, I found that my involvement with Robert Bigelow and Skinwalker Ranch – the fact that I basically paid my own way to go there and was refused entry on the ranch - that lack of transparency tells me that there is something else going on. This whole subject is so muddied already, what you don't need is more cover up, more deception, more obfuscation.
"When I started seeing that in the whole MUFON-BAASS relationship, that's when I started to question what's really behind all of that and I voiced my opinions to the board. All of it was history after that because they went behind my back and renegotiated that contract.
"The bottom line being that I think – and this is very well known – that if you think you can dance with these intelligence agencies and they don't want you to dance with them, you're never gonna dance. The bottom line is there will be a way where you'll end up on the outside of that. I think there is a very interesting dance happening between ufology and the intelligence organizations that have more to do with what the goals of the intelligence agencies are than a cover up of extraterrestrial visitation."
More on Bigelow, BAASS and MUFON at 2:22:00.
"There very much has to be a large amount of transparency when you're going to be involved in something of this nature. You can't hide anything. So, for example, when Bigelow hid the source of his funding and would only reveal it to John Schuessler on the MUFON board, that lack of transparency really rubs me the wrong way. That tells me there's something being hidden for a certain purpose and I don't want to be involved in that."
More on the Skinwalker Ranch at 2:29:00.
"You know, the Skinwalker Ranch to me is interesting for a couple reasons. To me, the mythology – and I'll call it mythology because I don't think what's written in the book is accurate – this is based on personal investigation from when I went there and was denied access to the ranch, and then finding out that the brother of the original owner of the ranch, before it was sold to Bigelow, was very adamant in saying that nothing paranormal or strange in nature happened while his brother was owner of the ranch. He knows this because he was on the ranch many times. So I think there was a mythology built around that, in the same way that a mythology gets built around a number of cases that end up on the silver screen as a 'true story'."
Carrion also stated, "There's a mythology that was being built up. Why was it being built up? I think it had somewhat to do with the mythology surrounding Area 51. Somebody wants to continue that mythology. The same way that the mythology is continued around Dulces, New Mexico, and underground bases and a lot of the stuff that we hear about that really has no substantiation.
"Just because a billionaire owns the ranch, and a book is out there written by folks that allegedly were on the ranch, doesn't make it true."
Summing up events surrounding Bigelow and the Skinwalker Ranch, Carrion stated, "All I know is somebody is obfuscating what is really going on, and I don't think it has to do with protecting people's lives [concerning the lack of access and lack of transparency]. I think it's something else."
2:08:00 How can the average person separate signal from noise? What would Carrion tell a young person getting involved in ufology?
"I would say, based on my years of exposure, don't focus on the signal, focus on the noise. There's a lot to be learned from the noise.
"It's almost – I've said this quite a few times – the absence of evidence is as telling as the presence of evidence. So if you go into this field with an open mind, you put aside your beliefs, you really look to see why there's so much noise surrounding this field. Pay attention to the noise. Pay attention to the characters that are in the field.
"Make sure that you check their sources. Make sure you check every single fact. You better be a fact checker, because if you're not a fact checker, you're gonna be at the recipient end of disinformation, hoaxes and just being led down the primrose path that a lot of ufologists find themselves.
"The bottom line is to go out there with a sincere desire to know truth and to learn truth, no matter how hurtful that truth may be, even if it hurts your own beliefs. Look for that truth."