Monday, March 19, 2018

Deception and Fake Videos: It's Not Just for YouTubers

The majority in the UFO community are clueless about the depths that an intelligence agency can go to manage people of interest.”
- James Carrion, commenting in The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community 

People interested in UFOs often possess vast amounts of knowledge on popular cases and intricate details of happenings within the community. High profile ufology personalities and their followings know their UFO stuff. Unfortunately, we might sometimes be viewed as knowing a lot about a little, and those observations may at times have merit.

The genre is rather infamously notable for neglecting to give adequate study to topics often found less enthralling than saucer stories, yet nonetheless extremely relevant. Procedures of the intelligence community is one such relevant topic, among many. Let's take a relatively brief look at how better understanding the intelligence community might be important for those desiring to know more about events taking place within ufology.

The Pentagon spent over $500 million – half a billion bucks – to create fake videos, according to sources such as Independent and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. But it was much more than perception management. As a matter of fact, the videos were designed to appeal to Al-Qaeda members and sympathizers, not change their minds. This particular batch of propaganda consisted of fake terrorist vids that tracked the locations of viewers. The material was created by a UK-based public relations firm hired by the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Former video editor Martin Wells reportedly worked on the project, which took place between about 2006 and 2011. Requirements included specific format and code, he explained. Marines would leave copies of the completed videos, contained on compact discs, at the scenes of raids and ransacked houses in Iraq so that enemies would later find them. According to Independent, Wells further explained: 
If one if looked at in the middle of Baghdad… you know there’s a hit there,” Mr. Wells said. “If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one, and that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”

A former chairman of Bell Pottinger, the PR firm, reportedly confirmed the existence of its contract with the Pentagon. Likewise, the Pentagon also confirmed the contract, while insisting all material distributed was truthful. That may actually be the case while the videos nonetheless fall well under the definition of Al-Qaeda propaganda.

Bell Pottinger was first tasked by the interim Iraqi government in 2004 to promote democratic elections,” Independent reported. “They received $540m between May 2007 and December 2011, but could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006.”

Howard Hughes, 1938
We might also consider what history teaches us about relationships between intelligence agencies and wealthy eccentrics. The CIA recruited Howard Hughes to supply cover for Project Azorian, a multi-million dollar effort to secretly raise a sunken Russian submarine from the bottom of the ocean. The project took years to fully execute and involved Hughes announcing a fabricated plan to mine the seafloor. In actuality, sailors would work to raise the sub under the guise of mining, which, by the way, was reasonably successful. The CIA eventually released documents indicating about 40 feet of the over 300-foot vessel was retrieved.

We might be wise to familiarize ourselves with such operations and keep them in mind when contemplating the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program and its close relations to Robert Bigelow and To The Stars Academy. Every instance of career intelligence officials moonlighting as ufologists is certainly not the tip of a far reaching conspiracy. That stated, it is not unreasonable by any means to expect verification of evidence presented. The same can be said for claims asserted. That might particularly be considered the case when To The Stars claimed able to present a verifiable chain of custody of videos published, yet has failed to do so.

There is not a lot of wiggle room in the definition of a fact. It can be publicly reviewed and confirmed by third parties or it can't. When it can't, it simply shouldn't yet be accepted as a fact.

It's reasonable to be open-minded. It's also reasonable to be inquisitive and interested in what might be navigating the skies.

But don't be gullible. Don't be guilty of confirmation bias. Demand professionally presented evidence. The truth depends on it.


  1. "Every instance of career intelligence officials moonlighting as ufologists is certainly not the tip of a far reaching conspiracy."

    But shouldn't these instances indicate the need to critically evaluate their statements and claims more closely?

  2. Absolutely! When career intelligence professionals jump in the ufology pool, they, of all people, should understand the importance of transparency, clear communication, and presenting research in coherent manners. Suffice it to say we don't see that too much.

  3. "“The majority in the UFO community are clueless about the depths that an intelligence agency can go to manage people of interest.” - James. Carrion

    Not to mention the extent to which spy culture or the "national security cinema" affects popular belief. Propaganda, of course, has a long history of being used for various purposes. Although I am not certain about why beliefs about UFOs might be used by the various intelligence interests and the sides that are in the mix - the end game - it is always necessary to engage in critical evaluation of whatever claim is being presented, regardless of who is advancing the claim.

    Carrion is always quotable in this regard: "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."

    1. This applies to more than just UFO claims. In today's world, it applies to almost everything posted online, especially if it's political or has political undertones. Sigh.

  4. Jack, I agree 100% with your post. But, we also need to acknowledge that things become murky very quickly when it comes to the clandestine world. Think about "Professionally presented evidence" then think, if you were debating a case in court, how much of the UFO "evidence" would be professional enough to be presented...

    Declassified documents are one good source, but the problem is very few are truly objective. Maybe the Twinning memo for stating the phenomena exists and perhaps the Wilbur Smith Memo (though Smith's claims did come from a second hand source so it is debatable).

    The lack of objective evidence has created an institution of interpretations where people look at the available "data" and see what they want. Some see extraterrestrials and others, ultra-terrestrials. Some see evidence of a natural phoneme not yet discovered and others see the work of the intelligence agencies.

    It is highly unlikely we will receive a "smoking gun" set of evidence so in the meantime it is important to have intelligence debate, good research, and an openness towards other theorems.

  5. Good information in that post, thanks.

    Given our "best rumors" about UFO sightings and abductions, it seems that we would have very good positive or negative evidence if ufology would not be a tabooed topic in the vast majority of the scientific community.

    UFO landing sides, alleged alien implants, video footage... that all is good data that could very well become good evidence, if scientists would jump on it like they do when they find a pre-ancient human jaw bone or a new cave fish.

    Scientists could confirm (or disconfirm the alleged evidence for) an alien presence very well in complete isolation to intelligence influences. But they don't.

    The key to a possible disclosure is to make ufology an established field of science with many different scientists joining in. It seems to me that Bigelow and his TTSA friends (but also Greer's early projects) work in that direction. It takes decades to dissolve a taboo in science.