Tuesday, May 7, 2019

It's Not the Topic, It's the Presentation

The controversy surrounding the Form DD1910 story gives us an opportunity to observe fundamental and chronic challenges within the UFO community. I contend these challenges are part and parcel of what hampers the genre's struggle for wider acceptance and credibility.

Established communities such as those consisting of academics, scientists, critical thinkers at large, and professional researchers and journalists do not reject the work of UFO writers solely because the work is about UFOs and related fringe topics. They reject it if it does not respect and conform to the guidelines which qualify such work as professional and credible. 

To emphasize, please: The UFO community collectively claims to seek acceptance from other genres, while failing to recognize research protocols established by those genres, or even recognizing the importance of best research practices. Many UFO buffs then unreasonably complain their voices are minimized and not respected.

2017 International UFO Congress Researcher of the Year,
Tom DeLonge
We could detail the particulars of the DD1910 story - which is important and some researchers have done a fine job doing so - but in a broader sense, it's more a symptom of the problem. The UFO community historically fails to recognize such basic fundamentals as how facts are established. We collectively assign credibility where it has not yet been earned or maintained, and avert from the consequences of doing so. This is self-evident to qualified experts and those who adhere to professional protocols.

It is our responsibility to present news stories and research in coherent, succinct, and fact-based manners. This includes sourcing material, providing evidence in timely manners which support assertions, and primarily relying on such procedures to form assessments as compared to relying on trust. Failing to do so carries consequences. That has long been - and will long continue to be - the case.

Friday, May 3, 2019

DoD Contradicts Knapp Story on TTSA Vids

In an April 29 post at Las Vegas Now, George Knapp asserted it was confirmed the Pentagon released the three videos published by TTSA, citing a Form DD1910 of unclear origin. John Greenewald, Jr. subsequently obtained an email statement from a Department of Defense spokesperson who explained otherwise, stating the form actually indicated the videos were "not for public release." The spokesperson further clarified at Greenewald's request the internal approval on the form "does not mean public release approval."

George Knapp did not immediately respond to an opportunity to comment for this blog post. 

Form DD1910 in question
The sourcing of the vids has been a point of contention, particularly in light of how simple it should be for TTSA to publish a chain of custody. Doubts have surfaced given the lengthy amount of time DeLonge's group has failed to do so. Questions have arisen over numerous aspects of the clips, including when and how the audio portion of the "Gimbal" footage was laid over the video.

Adding fuel to the fire are TTSA unproven assertions. Early in the Gimbal video posted by TTSA, it is clearly claimed, "Gimbal is the first of three U.S. military videos of an unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) that has been through the USG declassification review process and approved for public release." 

Shortly thereafter, TTSA further asserts, yet a year and a half later continues to fail to prove, "This content has chain of custody documentation to ensure preservation of its original condition."

Two million views and 17 months later, TTSA has yet to present
the claimed chain of custody
Knapp recently wrote the DD1910 was "obtained," but did not clarify how, adding the form "shows the videos were released by the book." While some revere Knapp for past work on UFO stories such as Skinwalker Ranch and the Bob Lazar case, others feel he champions sensational material at the expense of relevant questions and the contradictory information such questions often reveal. Additional criticism includes failing to provide sources for documents presented. 

Experienced FOIA submitter John Greenewald, Jr. posted questions about the DD1910 published by Knapp. He questioned Knapp's portrayal of the doc as proof the DoD released the videos to either TTSA or the general public. Issues include why the name of the contact was redacted on the form, presumably by Knapp or his associates. Also questioned were the subjects of the videos, not listed as UAP or UFOs, but UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, commonly known as a drone), balloons, and UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System).

A May 2 statement obtained by Greenewald from Pentagon Spokesperson Sue Gough clarified the form in question was a valid DD1910. However, Gough continued, "Per block 3 of this form DD1910, the submitter requested release of videos solely for research and analysis purposes by U.S. government agencies and industry partners, and not for general public release."

The May 2 DoD statement posted by Greenewald:

Following push back to the above statement, Greenewald sought and obtained further clarification. Spokesperson Gough further specified the approval noted on the form "does not mean public release approval":

TTSA fans seem intent to continue to support the outfit regardless of conflicting story lines and the seeming obstruction of information by the very people claiming to be disclosing it. At some point, however, they may have little choice but to more soberly address why TTSA does not, itself, simply clarify its sources of material and any claimed importance. As it currently stands, TTSA perpetually leaves it to bloggers to piece together what TTSA seems either unable or unwilling to reveal.

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Long Way from Kitty Hawk

This is not an easy post to write, but some things need to be said and nobody is saying them (as usual).
Tyler Rogoway, Twitter

Tyler Rogoway is a writer, photographer, & journalist on aviation and military topics. If you haven't heard yet, which you should have if you're interested in UFOs, on April 26 he posted an article, What the hell is going on with UFOs and the Department of Defense?. The post explores the U.S. Navy updating UFO reporting procedures for its personnel, as well as the influence that Team TTSA is having on shaping UFO talk. I urge reading the article in full, and there are some points in particular I'd like to explore.

Ours or Theirs?

Rogoway addressed the possibility human beings, not extraterrestrials or a non-human intelligence, are the forces behind some craft perceived as UFOs. This was accomplished while sufficiently acknowledging technology demonstrated during the now much discussed Nimitz encounters involved flight capabilities that shatter our perception of propulsion and even physics. That's a difficult thing for many people to accept, he wrote.  

That's competently argued. Even without the decades-long laugh factor associated with controversial flying objects, lots of people, certainly including those with skeptical leanings and expert backgrounds, tend to bail on discussions when reduced to sighing, "I don't know."

Others are fond of drawing questionable conclusions about select UFO cases involving craft which display flight capabilities beyond current known technology. "It couldn't be ours," they surmise.

To that we might ask, "How do they know?" Are they experts with special access to classified aircraft and not bound by security oaths? 

The possibility many UFO cases can potentially be explained as quite human technology is a likelihood that absolutely must be given its due, particularly prior to jumping to unfounded speculation and conclusions. This doesn't necessarily mean human technology explains every case, but we can reasonably assume it's a strong contender for a whole lot of them.

This is how it started, Dec. 17, 1903
In the history of mankind, humans are the only beings conclusively known to construct and launch machines into flight in this neck of the woods. If you see a vehicle of some sort flying around, there's a really, really good chance people put it up there. Let's just say there's a lot of supporting documentation.

That doesn't have to mean there are no interesting mysteries. It does mean that scientists, academics, and intelligence personnel who wade into ufology to work for an entertainment company or wander around the desert looking for saucer debris should be held accountable for acting like they don't understand horses come before carts.  

Setting the Stage

Rogoway took his post a big step further than most and indeed explained something that needs to be said. In 2004, when the "Tic Tac" case unfolded, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group was the only flotilla equipped with and testing a state of the art surveillance and tracking system called Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). 

Rogoway wrote, "What many may not know about this event is that it occurred in a place and time where the most powerful set of aerial surveillance sensors ever created were amassed together and were watching and recording it all."

USS Nimitz
CEC combined multiple data sources to enable target visibility to an extent never before achieved. It was cutting edge, continues to evolve, and "this integrated air defense system architecture was just being fielded on a Strike Group level for the first time aboard the Nimitz and its flotilla."

How significant was it?

"We are talking about a quantum leap in capability and fidelity here folks," Rogoway continued.

What's more, the location the encounters occurred, off the Baja Coast, is potentially significant. According to Rogoway, there's no better place to test such a system. The location is not an operational environment and aircraft are not armed because nobody's expecting to engage in a fight. 

"In other words," Rogoway explained, "it was an ideal testing environment that featured the very best aerial, surface, and undersea surveillance sensors and sensor crews on the planet."
He further clarified, "The key takeaway here is that if ever there was an opportune time to capture the very best real-world sensor data on a high-performance target in near lab-like controlled settings offered by the restricted airspace off the Baja Coast, this was it. And by intention or chance, this is exactly what happened."

It would seem reasonable to be a bit annoyed that ufology's self-proclaimed intelligence insiders, as well as supposedly qualified experts who delved extensively into the Tic Tac case, seem unaware of the CEC and the significance of the location of the Nimitz during the events. I very much appreciate Tyler Rogoway reporting on these potentially important circumstances. His post is objective, informative, and recommended. 

A Question of What's Being Concealed

It has been argued that Uncle Sam's armed forces are negligent in not recognizing select reports of UFOs as legitimate threats to national security. Perhaps that is true. A lot of UFO researchers sure think so.

A counterpoint could be made there could be other, more rational reasons for official stances of disinterest in UFOs. Those reasons could in some cases also be much less dramatic than the widely believed UFO cover-up.

Lack of UFO urgency arguably comes from the top and trickles down. If the brass aren't worried about nuke facilities getting buzzed, then neither are intel analysts. There is indeed precedence and many examples of this dynamic. 

Widely circulated photo of reported
Ghost Rocket originally released
by Swedish Army
James Carrion took a deep dive into the reported Ghost Rocket phenomenon of the 1940's. He presented authenticated memos and documents which showed intel analysts, officers, and even an FBI Special Agent became pretty thoroughly convinced upper echelon members of Swedish and U.S. intelligence were well aware of the origins of the supposed mystery rockets. This was due in substantial part to a lack of official concern, including allowing officers to remain on leave and failing to significantly increase security measures during a reported rocket wave. They just weren't interested, in spite of intel reports and public proclamations. 

Please allow me to emphasize that intelligence reports also cited contradictions in statements by officials and their lack of presenting tangible evidence in assessing it was likely the powers that be were themselves responsible for the Ghost Rockets: They pushed stories lacking verification, and they did not display evidence or concern in proportion to the stories.

U.S. Navy Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, who Carrion suspects would have been among the informed upper echelon, actually discouraged investigation. He declined a chance to visit a potential rocket crash site to obtain debris for testing. The admiral suggested there would be more opportunities later. Opportunities, of course, which never came. 

It should be noted the purpose of the Ghost Rocket ruse would by no means have been to dupe the public into believing aliens were among us. That seems to have been accomplished by a credulous and often less than intellectually honest UFO community.

Objectives of the operation would have included confusing adversaries about what's in the sky and who's flying it, which would have potentially created a variety of advantageous situations for further exploitation. Perhaps one man's UFO cover-up is another man's classified job description of gas lighting the global intel community. 

A Long Way from Kitty Hawk

Orb-like objects have reportedly been flying in the vicinity of Iranian nuclear facilities. Those up on their UFO lore should quickly recognize a few common themes here, like the seeming nuclear site issue. Also noteworthy are the reported flight capabilities and actions of the flying objects, which include flying outside the atmosphere, achieving Mach 10 speeds, hovering over a target at a speed of zero, and powerful electronic countermeasures (ECM) which jam enemy radar and disrupt navigation systems through the use of high levels of magnetic energy. 

That's a lot to chew on and could sure get one's alien senses tingling. The Iranians, however, who apparently haven't been part of an altar call at a MUFON Symposium, suspected a much different explanation. They assessed their uninvited visitors to be CIA drones.

Iranian Air Force F-14 Tomcats
In 2004, which, by the way, was the same year of the Nimitz events, an Iranian F-14 Tomcat unsuccessfully tried to lock its radar on a luminous object over the Arak nuclear facility. The radar beam was effectively disrupted, apparently by the object, which was described by the pilot as spherical in shape. It reportedly had something described as a green afterburner which caused turbulence in its wake, then increased speed and "disappeared like a meteor." Interestingly, the Iranians seemed to think the flying objects emitted light in order to enable nighttime photography, whatever we may specifically make of that. 

In 2012 the two crewmen of an F-14 were killed when scrambled to intercept an intruder headed towards the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The F-14 exploded seconds after takeoff. I'm not aware of any cause given for the explosion.

In related stories, Wired reported in 2013 that Sandia National Laboratories was developing a Transformer-like drone. The object was designed to fly, swim, drive, and hop its way to its mission, transforming itself to accommodate different terrain.

"Its wings become fins as it dives into water, or underwater paddles that shed casings to reveal wheels as it moves toward land — wheels with the ability to jump 30 feet into the air. An entire campaign could be conducted by a remote operator or, more likely, semi-autonomously," the article explained.

There are clearly a lot of different kinds of machines crawling the planet. They have a wide range of capabilities and diverse appearances. We should expect them to become more frequently reported. 

We don't have to throw the babies out with the bathwater, but let's encourage suspending judgement on extraordinary explanations until conclusive evidence is available - and, of course, actually presented. Let's not ignore the most likely possibilities. We just deceive ourselves if we do, and we deserve better than that, from all involved. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

UFOs as Espionage Tools

The Boyd Bushman case offers examples of how intelligence agencies might investigate people involved in wild stories of alleged aliens and UFO technology. These stories may become tools used in intelligence and counterintelligence operations to gain the trust of people issued security clearances. Beliefs in an extraterrestrial presence may then be cultivated and exploited in an effort to obtain classified information. It's not hard to envision such scenarios might substantially disrupt the research process in ufology as well as the resulting beliefs in the public at large, even when that's not an objective of the operation. Writer and researcher Nick Redfern recently gave his take on the Bushman case.   

Submarine launch of an LM Trident missile
The late Boyd Bushman was issued a Top Secret security clearance in his role as a Senior Specialist at Lockheed Martin, a major American aerospace and defense company. He publicly discussed extreme ET-related beliefs, including describing networking with allegedly like-minded global associates. They supposedly shared his concerns that the U.S. government possessed smoking gun alien tech that should be open to the masses.

His employer, LM, apparently thought otherwise, and informed the FBI in the 1990's it was concerned Bushman was the subject of "an ongoing attempt to elicit LM proprietary or USG classified information." FBI records on Bushman, available at The Black Vault, indicate at least one of his associates was found to have "a history of allegations of misconduct, violations of security and classified information handling procedures, and suspicious contacts with foreign nationals." All of this involved a person "suspected of inappropriately releasing information."

From FBI files on Bushman

It's not difficult to theorize that at least some of Bushman's global contacts, people he described as sharing a mutual belief that government secrecy hampered the efforts of scientists to discuss alleged ET technology, may have had ulterior motives. There are several interesting cases of this nature in the winding history of ufology, and one of them involves the now deceased Vincente DePaula.

Vincente DePaula

It's first helpful to consider 1980's ufology to develop context of the DePaula case. The alien smoking gun was coming anytime and there were a lot of intel operatives jamming up the UFO conference circuit, or at least that's what a lot of people believed. The former obviously never came to pass, but the latter actually proved to have merit. All that's pretty much a lot more stories for another time, but the gist of the plot is there were a bunch of spooks and their assets in ufology, we just probably are wrong about the purposes much more often than not.  

Tensions were high, and, as is consistently the case in ufology, many interpret the presence of the intelligence community as confirmation of their beliefs. That's of course not necessarily true, if not quite often probably untrue. 

As still happens, people with opposing views were apt to accuse one another of spreading disinformation on behalf of intel agencies, whatever the actual reasons may have been for IC interest in the social circles. This is not to necessarily minimize the potential significance of the complex and tangled webs, as there were indeed people acting with unclear and obstructed agendas, as there continue to be around the UFO scene.

Bill Moore, Jaime Shandera and Stanton Friedman,
staples of the 1980's UFO community

Vincente DePaula was a Cuban immigrant employed in the defense industry, according to a now inactive website belonging to Ron Regehr. The two met and developed a friendship due to their work on classified material and their shared interest in UFOs. Both were active in the Mutual UFO Network, resulting in DePaula drawing the head of an alien at Regehr's request. The specific details behind the drawing are not entirely clear, but it apparently received some notoriety around the community. DePaula was eventually interrogated by the Defense Investigative Service (DIS) and, according to Regehr, DePaula stated the interrogations were related to the drawing.

Interrogations by DIS of Vincente DePaula,
according to Ron Regehr
DePaula indicated DIS wanted to know more about sources of information pertaining to the alien head. He apparently did not cooperate, which reportedly led to four interrogations during 1986, collectively spanning some 41 hours. One lasted for eight hours and another went on for 28 hours.

Some people seemed to think DePaula's ordeal was due to a DIS interest in tracking who knew about an alien presence and maintaining secrecy. It was also speculated that DePaula and his UFO associates suspected his work on classified satellite systems was part of a secret government effort to monitor UFO activity and alien abductions. Some even believed DePaula's lack of cooperation with DIS led to induced cancer and his untimely death. 

Perhaps another possible explanation for DIS interest in Vincente DePaula and his UFO social circles might involve something more along the lines of how the FBI seems to have undertaken an investigation into the associates of Boyd Bushman. It seems easy to envision, whether or not it applies to the DePaula case, that intelligence agencies would become concerned about the identities and motives of people who develop confidential relationships with individuals issued security clearances. That might particularly be the case when the nature of such relationships includes discussions directly related to their employment activities by way of the topic of alleged aliens.

I unsuccessfully attempted through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain records on the reported interrogations of Vincente DePaula. DIS was disbanded and absorbed into the Defense Security Service, which responded that no records currently exist and were probably discarded. Other agencies similarly reported no records available for release.   

Friday, March 29, 2019

Indoctrination by Any Other Name

QAnon is a failure of critical thinking, but it's also a failure of community. People with thriving familial and social circles simply don't waste their lives pretending John Podesta eats babies and Michelle Obama is actually a man.
- Mike Rothschild, Twitter

It could be argued whether fringe subcultures cause delusion or attract those predisposed to it, but one thing's for sure: once involved, irrationality is cultivated among participants. Unsubstantiated and extreme group beliefs are reinforced through p
roviding and withholding emotional support. I've discussed the dynamics rather lengthily on a variety of mediums, and it continues to be an evergreen topic. Let's consider some ways we got to a point in which ever increasing numbers of people emphatically believe wild, unverified stories, and we'll reflect on the UFO community's part in the mishap.

Image tweeted by POTUS from a rally and containing apparent support for QAnon (center, right)

The final two decades of the 20th century in American UFO circles were full tilt alien abduction. It was pretty much the hay day of the abduction scenario. Authors such as Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs (and a whole lot more) spread terrifying tales of midnight rambler aliens. Conferences, late night talk radio, daytime television talk shows, even "documentaries" explored the topic. Regularly.

Significantly, the most widely used so-called investigative tool was regressive hypnosis. The moral and ethical dilemmas were many - and continue to be - but for the purpose of this particular blog post, the manufacturing of alleged alien abductees was in many cases strikingly similar to extreme born again religious or cult indoctrination.

I personally attended a variety of meetings of UFO groups, ranging from small local gatherings to large conferences, from the early 1990's off and on up until recent years. Again and again, newcomers would be emotionally embraced or rejected by the more vocal participants - and subsequently the group majority - in proportion to the extent the individual towed the party line. The preferred beliefs were distortions of speculation presented as fact most of the time.

Moreover, it was typical to see newcomers steered into premature and unsupported conclusions. People would attend a meeting where they seemed to expect to find either a professional facilitator or obtain science-based information (MUFON, for example, claims to be dedicated to scientific study), yet would be treated as if they were in denial or uninformed if hesitant to fully embrace the popular dogma. This rather naturally overlaps into reward of inclusion (or punishment of exclusion) in other social dynamics as well. 

It should be obvious that the more one desired emotional support, the more likely one would be to arrive at conclusions and offer stories consistent with a group or researcher's particular take. That was especially true over time, as one became increasingly isolated from former support systems while simultaneously becoming more attached to attention and acceptance received from UFO pals. That can particularly be the case when remaining the subject of a high profile researcher's next book or film is contingent upon the way the person forms their beliefs and interpretations of their experiences. Such individuals often sincerely believe their otherwise uncorroborated stories and questionable memories, especially when methods like hypnosis were employed during the "investigative" process.

If you didn't care to attend live UFO meetings, you could observe the same dynamics unfolding on most any UFO message board, or forum, which were popular online discussion outlets prior to the rise of more universal social media sites. Well into the last few years it was easy to see an individual open an account when they had a desire to talk UFOs with like-minded people, often wanting to share a sighting from long ago or similar personal memory. In a significant number of circumstances, such a person who joined the group discussion with no apparent particular agenda or opinion, and wanted to hear what others thought, would seem to become awakened to profound experiences of alien abductions and otherworldly interactions within a matter of weeks or months. It was not unusual. Then they, in turn, would become part of the group who welcomed newcomers and "helped" them navigate the labyrinth and supposedly understand what it's all about. 

Many undoubtedly had good intentions, but it can't be denied that extreme ideas about interactions with omniscient entities who pop in and out of objective reality became discussed with casual indifference. Their existence becomes taken for granted, not even up for discussion, and those who explore explanations for even some reports are typically considered to be undermining the group and insulting the integrity of the participants. 

The consistent tainting of the well does not necessarily mean no one anywhere ever had any interesting experiences, but confirmation bias thrived in the vast majority of UFO meetings and organizations. It seemed that whatever symptoms you experienced, from insomnia to craving salt, they were indicative of alien abduction. Surveys were administered to prove it. I have personally witnessed such surveys distributed to a group to be filled out after a meeting was held in which specifics of alleged alien abduction were discussed at length - more than once. It deserves emphasis that our culture manufactured alien abductees

David Jacobs
Specific case studies supporting the point are available, as well. The events that befell Leah Haley and Emma Woods, just to name two of the many, are ethically atrocious. Both involved excessive hypnosis and blatant peer pressure, to put it mildly. Both involved wildly questionable actions of what purported to be educated authority figures (John Carpenter, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and MUFON honcho, in the circumstance of Haley, while David Jacobs, an Associate Professor of History and self-proclaimed expert of alien abduction, in the Woods saga).  

In Haley's case, a chorus of accusations of being a disinfo agent followed her rejection of the alien abduction narrative, among numerous other shameful occurrences. Similar accusations followed those who heard her out and wrote about it, which included yours truly.

Woods was threatened with circumstances ranging from doxing to public shaming if she continued to ask what were rational and overdue questions about, among other things, Jacobs' entourage conducting hypnosis sessions on one another by telephone and text - which were allegedly getting hijacked by ET-human hybrids, no less. Woods eventually reviewed recordings of her dozens upon dozens of hypnosis sessions and published audio of indefensible behavior on the part of Jacobs, the amateur hypnotist. 

The pendulum has a long way to swing back to center. I covered aspects of both the Woods and Haley sagas in my book, The Greys Have Been Framed, and provided many citations, as well as quotes from first hand interviews and other public sources.

It's not just alien abduction. There are sects of the UFO community which do not support the alien narrative, yet operate on many of the same dysfunctional herd mentalities. Variations evolving out of the core story involve alleged Targeted Individuals, mind control, theories of what became known as high strangeness, and other such scenarios where we can observe pockets of similar cult-like elements. This is the case regardless of what events may or may not have actually occurred in the lives of those who share their stories, and what varieties of explanations may account for the diverse range of reported phenomena. 

There are a lot of reasons people wade into the UFO community. Some hope to learn more about something they remember seeing in the sky once. Some want to learn more about a series of odd events, and they see some movies or hear a radio interview that makes them wonder if answers can be found at a UFO conference. Some just find it interesting. There are lots of reasons people ever start browsing UFO sites and wandering into gatherings, but we can observe some things that evolved over the last few decades. 

During the 1980's and 1990's, one pretty much heard about a UFO conference on the radio or by reading about it in a newspaper. The brave and interested would show up. A percentage of those got somewhat inspired, bought a book or two, took home info about ways to get involved, and eventually made it to more events. Relationships were formed. Letters were written. Phone calls were made. 

It was not a better time, not for truth, quality of research or investigative methods, not at all. It just happened less rapidly and people did not cluster together electronically under screen names without actually meeting one another.   

As the century turned, computers were increasingly popular, along with internet access. This was accompanied by some tiger traps while needs arose to take deeper responsibilities. Perhaps many of us never had much reason before to think about such responsibilities. A lot of us were understandably unprepared for the new frontier of cyberspace.  

Entire electronic communities opened up via UFO forums and listservs. We gained previously only imagined access to the relatively high profile researchers and apparent witnesses we'd seen on TV, heard on the radio, and met at the conferences. The UFO topic grew from being discussed by a few via snail mail into untold numbers of individuals - spanning continents - interacting on a daily basis, if not all day long. A lot of head space was gifted rent free, and we got our first glimpses of internet-induced false senses of familiarity and credibility. 

This was bound to detract in some instances from other aspects of life. I'm of course not hanging this all on UFOs. The topic was just a vehicle, as were many. Online activity involving everything from researching car engines to playing blackjack substantially eroded workforce productivity and personal relationships.

We now can isolate ourselves to large extents while insulating our minds with only the rhetoric of QAnon, both literally and metaphorically. Emma Woods encountered and documented a group of people revolving around David Jacobs who were reinforcing the unfounded beliefs of one another to extreme extents. In Jacobs' case, he was writing emails in code and using aliases, purportedly to keep the mind-reading hybrids from knowing the abductees were working with him (It's often built into the group narrative that other people don't understand, secrecy is essential, and figures such as law enforcement officers and psychologists can't be trusted because most of them subscribe to the gov disinfo). Jacobs' security measures particularly made no sense whatsoever, even more so than other cases, because he was publishing books and regularly speaking publicly about what he called the "threat." Many unanswered questions remain about his motives. 

Such scenarios are absolutely more common than we might like to think. The cult staples of indoctrination through isolation, getting in someone's head, and rewarding and punishing their compliance through emotional gratification are not new to the UFO scene, not by any means, but it appears easier than ever to do it en masse and quite effectively. 

Isolation contributes to yet another dynamic that deteriorates the reliability of information circulating: self-proclaimed knowledgeable individuals become social media staples without ever needing any first hand experience in what they pontificate about. They read like anyone else in a social media feed and they sound like anyone else on podcasts heard by the isolated untrained ear. It all blurs together in a sea of irrationality and fragmented, untested philosophies.

The technology and devices aren't to blame. Brainwashing and exploitation were around before mobile phones, but humankind indeed seems to have a self-destructive knack at making it easier to manipulate one another into bad situations. 

We indirectly encourage runaway irrationality by enabling it. We each have personal responsibilities to support best practices in research and reporting. It is each of our responsibility to cultivate dialogue that accurately identifies differences between fact and opinion, in both electronic and face to face interactions. 

It's unreasonable to demand people agree with something you can't prove to be correct. Don't expect it, and allow challenges to your proclamations. Expand horizons, explore possibilities, and be fascinated by the unknown, but be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Disclosure Fever Spreads While Facts Remain Scarce

Sen. Harry Reid
Former Sen. Harry Reid continued to attract attention from the UFO community, this time suggesting AATIP files should not remain secret, according to a March 7 article by George Knapp. This is seemingly a complete backpedal from Reid's 2018 statements to New York Magazine when he chastised reporters, declaring there are "hundreds and hundreds of papers" on the project, "80 percent, at least is public," and "the press has never even looked at it." 

Earlier this month, Knapp reported:
The longtime Nevada lawmaker admits he sponsored a secret study that was coordinated by a Las Vegas contractor. But very little of what was produced by the study has been made public. So, what's hiding in those files and when do we get to see them?
For more than a year, the public has heard about the secret study initiated by Senator Harry Reid and other lawmakers. The study continued for years, but whatever files or reports it created, very little of the material has been made public.
It could be argued the former politician could be more specific as to exactly what material he is referencing from one interview to the next, and doing so might help clear up discrepancies. However, that will not stop others from pointing out fans of Reid and TTSA are enabling ambiguous sensationalism by acting as apologists for the perpetual lack of detail. Well over a year now since claims were set forth in the initial NYT article, many rather extraordinary assertions remain unconfirmed and, perhaps worse yet, largely unaddressed by those responsible.

Tom DeLonge
In related developments, A+E Networks announced its History Channel will air Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation. The show is described as a six-part non-fiction series produced by Tom DeLonge. The six one-hour episodes feature Luis Elizondo and a collection of personalities easily recognizable to those following the TTSA plot lines. Let's hope the show ties up some of those loose "metal alloy" ends, among many other looming questions, and either justifies previous assertions or walks them back.

Last but not least, UFO-film producer Robert Kiviat reportedly filed a lawsuit against CIA man Ron Pandolfi and others. Kiviat apparently seeks to bring disclosure to a UFO and extraterrestrial truth embargo. 

Those with longer standing interests in UFO culture will recall Pandolfi for numerous reasons, including reportedly running the CIA "weird desk," being a central figure in the cultivation of the "core story," and seeding the online community with questionable tales. According to Bruce Maccabee, Pandolfi also suggested in 1990 that official CIA interest in UFOs involved counterintelligence purposes. Maccabee wrote that Pandolfi claimed the Agency obtained firm evidence the KGB devised a plan to use U.S. citizens, including ufologists, to penetrate the defense program (The FBI-CIA-UFO Connection: The Hidden UFO Activities of USA Intelligence Agencies, p354).

UFO activists sought assistance from the courts in the past with mixed results. It tends to be much more practical to obtain specific documents and files, for instance, than pursuing actions of intelligence personnel. We'll stay tuned while the judge sorts it out.

A central theme of many of the disclosure narratives seems to be the players' lack of understanding, sincerely or otherwise, that UFO reports themselves are not disputed. It remains yet to be seen how much more than hearsay and speculation can be applied to the reports to confirm context and alleged extraordinary origins. The track record of UFO disclosure is not flattering, to be quite forgiving in its description.  

Monday, February 25, 2019

Walsh Pasulka, Nolan Decline Comment on Alleged Security Personnel

A recently distributed Unknown Country Newsletter suggested an interview Whitley Strieber recorded with Dr. Diana Walsh Pasulka was reviewed by "security personnel" and subsequently not cleared for release. Strieber, a high profile UFO community member who does a podcast titled Dreamland, interviewed Walsh Pasulka, a Professor of Religious Studies who authored American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, and Technology. The newsletter stated:
Because two of the individuals discussed under pseudonyms in the book hold security clearances and requested that the interviews be officially vetted for possible issues, we had to agree to let security personnel connected with them listen. The first interview, which we aired last week, was passed.
Unfortunately, this is not true of the second one, and we are unable to air it. As Diana and Whitley don't hold clearances, neither of them can be told what parts of the interview were problematic, so it can't be edited.

A source close to Strieber was contacted for assistance in obtaining comment from the podcast host and learning more, such as the employer of the alleged "security personnel" and if proper identification was presented. The following statement was provided by Strieber:
I don’t know what security personnel were involved. We were asked to let the interview be listened to by two of the people we discussed in it. Both of these people are mentioned anonymously in Diana‘s book. I therefore sent them a copy of it. We were told that "security" didn’t want the second interview aired. As we had agreed before hand to do this, we complied. I don’t know anything more than this.

"I respect Whitley but have no comments," Walsh Pasulka replied in part to an email seeking clarification. 

The implication is Walsh Pasulka's sources, who reportedly were issued security clearances, acted as liaisons to "security personnel," who nixed the second part of the interview. Similar reports surfaced surrounding Walsh Pasulka's previous interviews. The circumstances seem rather irregular and many questions remain.

UFO researchers and internet sleuths confidently identified "Tyler," one of Walsh Pasulka's sources in her book, as Timothy Taylor. The executive and author previously caught the attention of UFO researchers when he was suspected of association with the ufology "Invisible College". 

Another source referred to as "James" in American Cosmic is suspected to be Dr. Garry Nolan, who conducted controversial work on the archaeological artifacts known as the Starchild Skull and Atacama skeleton. The Stanford researcher also had a stint with To The Stars Academy. 

An email was sent to Nolan seeking comment on the possibility he is "James". He was also asked about the alleged "security personnel" who reportedly reviewed the Dreamland podcast interview.

"I have no interest in commenting on rumors," Nolan replied, adding a smiley emoji. 

"But I do support the work you and others do. It’s a hard road we all have taken to find the truth."

Perhaps further information on the alleged "security personnel" would correct possible misunderstandings or make the situation more clear, but, as of this writing, no such information is readily available. That is all too often the case with claims in the UFO community. An argument could be made that those involved have responsibilities to clarify the circumstances and minimize sensational speculation. That might particularly be true within a genre which has historically spread tales long on drama and short on facts. 

It might further be argued we should expect our credentialed and accomplished community members to lead in setting examples of how best to fight the spread of truth decay. Unfortunately, it is not currently entirely clear whether they are fighting it or complicit in its cultivation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

MUFON Grievances Lead to Continuing Accountability Issues

A five-page pdf containing grievances about the Mutual UFO Network and titled, MUFON: The Inside Truth, was posted online. The document is dated Jan 17, 2019, and signed by Phil Leech, who identified himself as holding the title of Director Case Review Team, among other MUFON positions.

The document contains allegations of events ranging from background checks conducted on witnesses who filed UFO reports to circumstances surrounding an alleged "implant," reportedly removed from an individual and under analysis, possibly involving AATIP and/or TTSA personnel. Additional areas of concern expressed by Leech include circumstances surrounding Pennsylvania MUFON; mismanagement of MUFON media; misuse of the organization by a small minority of people for their personal benefit; and the lack of scientific integrity within an organization claiming dedication to scientific study, among other grievances.

The Leech document may be viewed in its entirety at the link above or at the end of this post, where it is embedded. Email statements obtained from individuals, while in some circumstances used in part, may be viewed in their entirety at the end of this post. The time and attention invested by all parties in their comments are appreciated. MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan did not respond to an email offering him an opportunity to comment for this post.  

There's a lot to unpack. Let's get started. 

Background Checks

I spoke with Phil Leech by telephone Jan. 19. He confirmed that he indeed composed MUFON: The Inside Truth and posted it online.

In the document, Leech wrote, "I have found that some Investigators are having extensive background checks run on witnesses when they submit a report. Some of these background checks are more than typical."

He continued that, during what he termed random case checks, he found several with comments surrounding the findings, which included criminal backgrounds. In another instance, Leech asserted a report included a comprehensive list of medications used by a witness, along with potential side effects. He added that he expressed concerns to Executive Director Jan Harzan and Director of Investigations Chase Kloetzke, but did not feel the circumstances were given adequate consideration.  

During our Jan. 19 conversation by phone, Leech stated his career in public service includes his work as a training officer for 911 dispatch, anti-terrorism training, a fireman for 15 years, and employment with the coroner's office, among other positions held. He believes this qualifies him more than the average volunteer Field Investigator to deal with people and situations which may arise. Leech stated he leads a four-man team for MUFON which assesses overall value of cases. 

"I have a very good team," he explained. "We review cases and follow the process through to the end."

Leech eventually found evidence of the background checks on witnesses. He expressed concerns about how the background reports were obtained and funded. It is unclear if witnesses were informed of or knowingly submitted to the process.

"What if you're not 100 percent sure you've got the right individual?" Leech encouraged me to consider.

I asked if a lot of people have access to the files.

"Oh, yeah," he replied. "FI [Field Investigator] is the lowest level and it goes up from there. Chief FIs have pretty wide access, on up the chain of the organization."

"They're not secure," he explained in principle about the case files. "You can print it off at home."

MUFON Director of Investigations Chase Kloetzke welcomed an opportunity to provide comments on the Leech document. She disputes most of Leech's claims, stating in a Jan. 19 email that the "accusations and comments are riddled with bad facts and information that is just NOT true," but did acknowledge background checks were conducted on some witnesses.

Concerning background checks in particular, Kloetzke wrote: 
Background checks: While Leech was crawling through CMS [Case Management System] looking for cases that are not completed correctly or he disagrees with the dispositions, he found two cases that had background checks involved in the FI notes. These notes are not available to the public, and others within MUFON outside of that state also cannot see these. MUFON investigators are not instructed to do that and it has stopped.
The medication list he found was offered by the witness. Although we do not ask for a medication list, investigators often hear very personal and confidential information about people. This is always a serious concern for privacy. This is why one of the most valuable attributes is LOYALTY to one's word and the ability to not reveal or break confidence.
CMS personal information is NOT shared...ever, and when we find those that do not exhibit the ethical behavior of confidential information, we NO longer need to put them in the way of witnesses or other valuable members.

Jan Harzan
Jan. 19 I asked Leech if he experienced any backlash from publishing the document. He said he received a Jan. 18 email from Harzan, who advised Leech he was moved to FI status, pending a phone call from Harzan in which the circumstances would apparently be discussed more thoroughly.

Leech added that he received a lot of moral support from fellow MUFON personnel. He said some 14 or so people contacted him thus far, agreeing with his concerns and expressing gratitude that he posted his complaints.

"What I said was true," Leech asserted. "There was nothing in there that I made up."

I explained to Leech my interest includes purposes of background checks. Elaborating further, I told him I was aware over the years of reports of case files missing from the MUFON system, along with security concerns expressed in certain circles. Other questions have surrounded the seeming layers of security within MUFON itself, such as the current Special Assignment Team (SAT) and the STAR Team of years past, a venture Leech says is now dormant and exists in name only. I asked if he thought any of that seemed particularly relevant or related.

"There is some truth to that about disappearing cases," he explained, clarifying cases may be removed for quite legitimate reasons such as containing profanity, for instance.  

I asked Leech what he thinks the point is for running background checks on witnesses. He replied, "I can't see what the point is other than they're able to do it and utilize it for their investigations. I think the question is why are they allowed to do it."

MUFON Collaboration with Intelligence Agencies

During my email exchange with Chase Kloetzke I explained my interest in wider context and requested she reply. I wrote:
I'd like to address one more issue, please, the extent of MUFON interactions with intelligence agencies. I'll preface it with some context for your consideration.
In 2011, former MUFON International Director James Carrion asserted Robert Bigelow was not the donor of funds to MUFON for collaborating with Bigelow's BAASS as claimed, but was in fact transferring money on behalf of an undisclosed sponsor revealed only to John Schuessler, but not the rest of the MUFON Board of Directors. In hindsight, and given what we now know about Bigelow's involvement with the Defense Intelligence Agency-funded AATIP during the time in question, it seems understandable concerns would arise about transparency, motives and operating procedures within a 501(c)(3) public charity such as MUFON.
Similarly, concerns have been expressed over the years of the potential for foreign adversaries to exploit the MUFON case and reporting system for various purposes, including using the public platform as a potential means to monitor the evolution of classified aircraft reported as UFOs in the vicinity of U.S. military bases. Similar concerns have been expressed about secrecy and a lack of transparency surrounding cases removed from the MUFON system. Given the various levels of seeming security clearance within MUFON itself, i.e., the SAT, the STAR Team of years past, background checks on witnesses and so on, there doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room between either a substantial amount of reason for such security is not being disclosed or reasons for the security are unfounded. At the least, there seems to be a lot of unanswered questions about MUFON leadership, objectives, and measurable results.
You're encouraged to address the above in whatever ways you choose, but would you please directly comment on the extent of MUFON collaboration with intelligence agencies and/or their personnel?

Chase Kloetzke responded Jan. 21. Concerning reports of missing cases, she wrote:
The cases missing from CMS. There is a triage system that removes reports that are:
1. Non-reports. Example: I saw a nun in space
2. Attachments contain other websites for publicity
3. Profanity
4. Duplicate report
5. User abuse 
There is a discussion to no longer remove these reports from public view. Also, reports are never really deleted or missing, they are however sometimes separated from view to be read and approved by a CMS Administrator. They are archived if found to meet the above requirement.
The State Directors know their cases and it's easy for them to follow, they're sequential. If MUFON wanted to hide that cases were disappearing, they could be assigned random case numbers. Easy! But this sequential numbering IS one of our safe guards and a security.

On intelligence agencies, Kloetzke wrote:
I am aware that Bigelow did in fact enter into a deal with MUFON to collaborate on data and in some cases, UFO reports. The witnesses were contacted and had given permission for what was then the new Star Team to conduct an investigation. Bigelow's investigators would sometimes be there as well. I am not aware of any more actions with them in any way since 2012.

I am not aware of any MUFON actions or talks with intelligence agencies. This rumor is as old as MUFON. As MUFON is a volunteer organization based and mostly funded by membership, it is open. There is only one reason I can think of why an intel agency would enter the ranks of MUFON and that would be to spread misinformation and cause the kind of suspicion, drama and chaos from within.
As far as I know, NO witness has been compromised or "outed". CMS permissions are highly guarded for this reason. With 500-900 reports a month and MUFON experiencing our 50th anniversary this year, that's pretty remarkable protection.
Intel or government agencies have admitted using our reports from the outside as Lue Elizondo openly stated at the last MUFON Symposium. He said they (government/AATIP) kept track of reports. This was one of the resources used to get the funding for AATIP. Of course, none of us knew this. Lue was not and is not now a member of MUFON. Anyone can see reports minus witness information on the website. The government doesn't have to infiltrate.
I am not aware at all of MUFON working with any government/intel agency. I am not aware that MUFON is talking with any government/intel agency. 
The Bigelow contract was indeed part of the funding by Congress as Bigelow was granted the contract, however, I am not aware of anyone knowing this at the time. We just had a funded Star Team. To this day, I believe this was a good program but was under the wrong leadership.

I replied:
Thanks again for your comments. I appreciate your willingness to explain your thoughts and position.

...I'd like to take a moment to express what I interpret the position of some of the critics to be on a couple of issues. Thanks in advance for reading.

If the DIA (AATIP) was providing funds to Bigelow which included money allocated to MUFON for the MUFON-BAASS venture, and Schuessler was made aware of the funding source as Carrion expressed, etc., as certainly appears to be the case at this point in time, some might think it a matter of semantics and a bit evasive to suggest there have been no collaborations with intelligence agencies. It seems reasonable for researchers to question the number and extent of any other such arrangements which may have been created and avoided public scrutiny, or, as implied and perhaps most importantly of all, the transparency of the org seems legitimately called into question. There are of course consequences for that.

In the event you are unaware of or interested in documentation of past transparency and ethics concerns within MUFON, you might choose to browse my blog posts on such instances as the Carpenter Affair and the AMP. Be advised, however, they are longish reads and I am not requesting your comment on the events. I offer them for your consideration as to why some might feel MUFON is in a position that a great deal of transparency is in order due to past discrepancies with some of the very individuals central to the more recent AATIP story lines. That stated, I fully concede the situations are events of the past and only influence the present in the manners the org might be expected to respond to and account for public concerns.

Once again, thank you for your time and attention invested in my questions.

Later Jan. 21, Kloetzke chose to further explain her position. She wrote:
I do acknowledge concerning events in the past that were finally tracked to three individuals that are no longer with MUFON. This was settled in 2012. I have heard the rumors since and now that I am in a position since returning to MUFON after a (roughly) four year absence, do have an inside view of all operations. I am not aware of any infiltration or government/intel personnel in our ranks with access to CMS or in any other department. 
I will very publicly look into any one with reasonable concerns and my best contact is: chasekloetzke@yahoo.com for those that prefer a private contact or DOI@mufon.com. This would indeed have my full attention. 
It was quite a shock when the AATIP story broke. I was stunned but very excited. But as with all Ufologists, pieces of this timeline started coming together. Bigelow on 60 minutes is one example. Surely he knew this was pending and this may have added to the unapologetic confirmation in his unyielding belief in this phenomena. I was the first to conduct an interview with Lue as we both live in DC. (He has recently moved to Ca). I asked pretty blunt questions and I felt that he answered truthfully. However, I never forget that he is very good at his job and he did have ONE tour in intelligence. I believe his experience in the intelligence community is outside of his military career and after his retirement. His job with AATIP was as a defense contractor. He is a supporter of MUFON as in, he believes in what we do. But he has no membership or involvement.  
The "good Old Days" of Carrion and Lange! I actually continue to be very interested in the truthful details of that time. I can only offer rumors which I do not give. I was a Field Investigator that barely heard from my State Director at that time. But I am VERY interested in any facts that can surface. It's a part of history IF for no other reason! John Schuessler and many of our "Originals" are stepping back. I have talked to Jan and others of where his records would be stored. This is becoming a serious issue that all investigators with files and in some cases, evidence, as I do, should make written arrangements for where they would like their work to rest. But as the MUFON/Bigelow connection goes, I have very little to add. My exposure was one year later when I was asked to be the new Star Team Manager.
I do not pretend or expect people to believe MUFON doesn't own a couple of self inflicted wounds, I just haven't witnessed or been told the kind of actions that were falsely stated by the letter in question, since my first departure.
I am a fan of your blogs Jack and see them featured often on UFO Chronicles. I am a fan! Sincerely! Scrutiny keeps us honest! I have never shied away from questions about MUFON. What I will affirm is:
I have the fullest confidence in the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and all Senior staff. My greatest pride in MUFON is the dedication and hard work of SO many thousands in the organization and this starts directly with our State Directors to our Field Investigators. There are simply too many of us to not notice or report unethical or suspicious behavior in our MUFON community. 
Let me know if you have any other questions. I do not mind at all. I admire those that still do right by those accused! (Falsely Accused!) You have my gratitude!

The Implant

In the five-page pdf, MUFON: The Inside Truth, Phil Leech asserted he was told by Kloetzke that the MUFON Special Assignment Team investigated a case in which the witness had a possible implant. Leech continued:
The implant was removed. MUFON had possession of the implant for study. This is where it gets strange. After all the work involved the implant was given to A.A.T.I.P. for examination. Never to be seen again according to Chase. Chase clearly stated her disgust with how this decision was made and the loss of potential evidence. I am somewhat taken back as to how Chase would let this happen with her background in evidence collection and chain of custody training. To state the obvious, why on earth would MUFON decide to give evidence away with even a remote chance it would not be returned.
MUFON staple and
co-founder John Schuessler
Hoping to learn more details surrounding this event, such as exactly how the alleged implant was reportedly removed, and, if by medical professionals, how it was funded, I asked Leech to please describe his understanding of the chain of events. He replied that he did not know specifics and that he was informed of the circumstances by Kloetzke.

"The implant was given to AATIP, aka TTSA [To The Stars Academy], which are the same thing," Leech said. "I don't know if (Kloetzke) was being truthful about being upset because she really looks up to these particular groups."

Kloetzke suggested that she feels Leech selectively omits relevant context from some of his characterizations of past conversations and statements made by others. Some conversations were considered and expressed as confidential at the time, she added. As far as the implant allegations in particular, Kloetzke wrote Jan. 19:
The IMPLANT. The ultimate violation of confidentiality! The worst action one can perform in this field as NOW...who will trust you?
This implant is a case out of Oklahoma. The witness remains confidential and the case sits in the Special Assignment Team because of the witness request. He is Army Retired. I will not discuss any details about this as I am under obligation of honor. However, the implant has maintained the providence and the chain of custody will pass scrutiny. Nothing is hidden on this document and for Leech to insinuate anything else is offensive coming from someone that does NOT have all the details in this case as he is not a SAT investigator.

She added Jan. 21:
The artifact that is still under review and confidential as per the witness' request that was named also contains very false facts. Thank goodness since this would be a direct violation of ethics and an integrity concern at the least! The artifact was picked up by A.D.A.M. This is a TV show that is also under a non-disclosure agreement. The artifact did go to a lab but it was quickly learned that the lab would not be able to analyze further. This was the "INTERNAL" rub at MUFON. Now, we had to find another lab. And we did. It was also not in the fake lab in Pa. [A reference to yet another issue contained in the Leech doc]
To make sure I was understanding clearly, I asked Kloetzke if she would clarify if she was confirming or denying the artifact/alleged implant was turned over to AATIP and/or TTSA. She replied:
No. It was never turned over to TTSA or AATIP but it was Lue Elizondo with the production company from A&E that picked it up for transport. The ownership and analysis remained in the name of MUFON, in fact A.D.A.M. TTSA nor AATIP know nothing of the details of the implant and are NOT briefed on any results. The results and full report will be released by the original lead investigators in Oklahoma and the Special Assignment Team.
In 2017-2018, SAT was responsible for 8 of the 12 investigation covers of the MUFON Journal. 

Ufotainment Allegations

Leech's complaints cover circumstances surrounding MUFON involvement with television media (the latter of which apparently includes Luis Elizondo these days, according to Kloetzke's statement above and for whatever reasons. To the best of my knowledge, Tom DeLonge and Elizondo continue to not respond to multiple interview invitations submitted by the FOIA-knowledgeable John Greenewald, Jr. of The Black Vault.). MUFON cases will be featured with select personnel included in productions reportedly to be funded by cable channels and well known media outlets, Leech asserts, and he is concerned the involved individuals will profit from the ventures as compared to the organization as a whole. 

"This is a nonprofit organization with a select few taking advantage of others," Leech wrote. "If this is not true, SHOW the contracts and who gets what."

Leech's concerns about a select few profiting from the volunteer work of the many are directed at individuals which include MUFON Director of Communications Roger Marsh. Offered an opportunity to comment, Marsh replied in a Jan. 19 email, "Tough to comment on something like that. Mr. Leech is basically a nice guy and a hard worker - we worked together last year on the Cases of Interest project and he was a brilliant contributor. He is making accusations without complete pictures, I guess."

Leech suggested he has reason to believe the case representations will be sensationalized, as has been the circumstance in the past, further harming what he feels to be MUFON's already damaged credibility. 

"There is no science in MUFON," Leech stated during our phone call, adding that the scientific aspect is much more for show than practice. He further stated he hopes MUFON leadership will take a hard look at how the org is run, step up and be more transparent.

"My goal is not to destroy MUFON. A lot of good, talented people are in the organization. My goal is to get good upper management and staff. I have nothing against the entire organization, extremely dedicated people who mean well. This is not an attack on them but concerns about the executive level. That is my concern. They need to step up and start doing what they should be doing."

In the published pdf, Leech wrote:
The Scientific Way is not the truth with MUFON. In extremely rare cases there might be evidence that is examined, however I have never heard of these results being made public. Seems the truth is we use everything but Science, a lot of Math at best. A good example is I approached Mr. Harzan to discuss how best to utilize the Star Team and the importance of a fast notification should the event warrant it. Jan informed me he was not that concerned, as to date he has not seen anything much come out of a supposed landing, crash, or evidence from any event. This was concerning to me as I know many field investigators went out and purchased specific equipment as it states in the Field Investigators Manual. Some spending near or over a thousand dollars. Not to mention our mission, and beliefs.

I was first alerted to the Leech pdf by a contact who saw it linked from a social media page belonging to Christopher Cogswell, PhD, a former MUFON Director of Research who resigned in disappointment. I asked the doctor if he cared to comment on Mr. Leech's document, to which he responded in a Jan. 19 email:  
Sure, Mr. Leech and I had these discussions of a similar nature while I was still at MUFON. Part of my growing concerns included questions of leadership, how best to use money to support local chapters, and how to perform investigations ethically and in a way that the information could be shared with the public. Although much of what he disclosed in his statement is news to me, it does not surprise me given the other questionable items I observed within MUFON. The organization at it's highest levels is very compartmentalized, so that ultimately only those at the very top know of everything going on. The fact that those within self made positions of power would misuse that power is also not surprising, given the fact that MUFON has continuously resisted efforts to democratize it's leadership at the highest levels. 
One question I had when I resigned was how could those I considered allies stay with an organization clearly being led into the darkest corners of conspiracy thought and belief. Even if the extremist views of many in the group are not concerning to you academically there are simple pragmatic questions of successful leadership. A group with dwindling numbers of members needs to grow it's audience, not continue to shrink it with ridiculous speakers and fringe politics. The only reasoning I could think of, and it is born out in Mr. Leech's statement, is that the common denominator in all of this is money and an attempt at ufotainment fame. 
Happy to discuss more if you would like. 


Problems have been public for quite some time surrounding former Pennsylvania MUFON State Director John Ventre. Phil Leech now asserts that Ventre headed a corporation with a bank account using the MUFON name, the existence of which increased MUFON leadership levels of tolerance for Ventre's controversial public statements and activities. 

To try to unpack this, I began by checking the main MUFON website, which lists John Doucette as PA State Director and provides a link to a PA MUFON website. However, I also quickly located yet another PA MUFON web page on the site which identifies John Ventre, not Doucette, as State Director.

I conducted a quick corporation search on the PA Department of State website. Easily located was a MUFON of Pennsylvania, LLC, established in 2008 and listed as active. Please note a Limited Liability Company is not a 501(c)(3) public charity, which may be relevant for many reasons.

After contacting Ventre and asking if he cared to comment on Leech's pdf, Ventre replied in part in a Jan. 19 email, "I turned the 501c3 over to Fred Saluga in 2017 and now John Doucette from what I understand... MufonPa donated to HQ 10% of conference proceeds per their guidelines for using their name and I donated my own money the same as I did for numerous other non-profits."

I replied, "A question, please: What was the purpose of incorporating a MUFON LLC in PA? That's of course not a 501(c)(3) organization. Would you please elaborate on that?"

"We initially made it an LLC so we couldn’t get sued even though we purchased insurance," Ventre wrote. "Later, a volunteer converted it to a 501c3. I believe Pa requires 501c3’s to be LLC’s first."

At that point I informed Ventre that a corporation search at PA Department of State website, using either the name or entity number assigned to the LLC, does not reveal a nonprofit, just the LLC. The same was the case searching MUFON, Mutual UFO Network and similar titles. No nonprofit org, only the LLC.

"The 501c3 # is 31954 and it is a federal designation not state," he responded. "Pa denied us a sales tax waiver."

I did not pursue the issue any further with John Ventre. During my phone call with Phil Leech, I addressed some of my concerns with PA MUFON accountability.

"MUFON wants each state to use their own tax ID number," Leech said.

Leech described his surprise when he was instructed not to contact international chapters of MUFON because leadership feared doing so might anger those operating the foreign groups. My understanding of Leech's statements was that he suspects MUFON financially profits from revenue generated through dues and merchandise sales, therefore he thinks leadership is much less concerned with the activities of any given chapter than their contributions.

While that may very well be, I think other issues involve nonprofit management and compliance. There are some distinct differences between, for example, someone who cooks well, opens a restaurant, yet knows nothing about business management, and a group of people who get involved with running a nonprofit UFO research group because they are passionate about UFOs but don't know anything about public charity compliance. The former sinks or swims on private financing while a 501(c)(3) public charity is operated with at least a third of its revenue generated through public contributions. There are moral and legal issues of accountability.

Understandably, certain financial guidelines and rules of transparency are inherent to the process. Many of my interactions throughout the years with MUFON personnel and leadership do not lead me to believe the organization has a solid understanding of the issues, or that it disseminates its responsibilities of public inquiries to those in need to know capacities throughout the org, which is pretty much anyone who might get asked about financial matters and operations. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty convinced MUFON leadership has a very poor understanding of the issues.

"Is there mismanagement?" Leech considered aloud. "Jan Harzan is one of the best front guys you'll ever find... But is he a manager? No, he is not."


Additional Comments 

Statements submitted by Christopher Cogswell, PhD, Chase Kloetzke, Roger Marsh, and John Ventre are appreciated, as is Phil Leech's willingness to talk by phone. Comments which were submitted by email and not already quoted are posted below in full.

The MUFON Director Case Review Team Phil Leech pdf embedded below may also be viewed at MUFON: The Inside Truth.

MUFON Director of Investigations Chase Kloetzke Jan. 19 email concerning the pdf:
Unfortunately Leech's accusations and comments are riddled with bad facts and information that is just NOT true. Something you would not or should not ever expect from an investigator. Bad facts, misleading conclusions and what many have already recognized as "sour grapes". My other observation is the glaring missing text that Leech said during the very conversations he references. These are always prefaced with "you can trust me, my integrity would not let me betray a confidence".
The "Facts" that Leech laid out that are not true are:
1. Working closely in National? He has quit 3 times since I  have been DOI and has an accumulated barely 90 days in any position during my time as DOI.
2. There is NO MUFON funded Lab in Pa! It's a very strange rumor that he is credited with.
3. Background checks: While Leech was crawling through CMS looking for cases that are not completed correctly or he disagrees with the dispositions, he found two cases that had background checks involved in the FI notes. These notes are not available to the public, and others within MUFON outside of that state also cannot see these. MUFON investigators are not instructed to do that and it has stopped.
The Medication list he found, was offered by the witness. Although we do not ask for a medication list, investigators often hear very personal and confidential information about people. This is always a serious concern for privacy, this is why one of the most valuable attributes is LOYALTY to one's word and the ability to not reveal or break confidence. 
CMS personal information is NOT shared...ever and when we find those that do not exhibit the ethical behavior of confidential information, we NO longer need to put them in the way of witnesses or other valuable members.
4. MUFON Media? I have never heard of this department or team in MUFON. It does not exist.
5. Paid positions? Yup....this has been a whispered discussion for years. At least as long as I have been a member. This is where I feel a betrayal has been uncovered. Leech was always calling and discussing what everyone else was saying. He also had a hard spot for the salaries and extra things some received. Some of us did as well. These conversations were considered and express as confidential. He used this to hurt the very people that he worked with and weaponized things said between friends. Something he always encouraged. I will apologize for my part in this discussion to the right person but know that this was NOT a one way conversation. Where are his comments and actions??? Strangely NOT included. 
6.  The Special Assignment Team worked a case in Mexico recently with unauthorized "Non-MUFON" members.  Bad Information and NOT TRUE! 
SAT was never told or informed to work that case. The investigator 30 miles away is NOT a SAT investigator but was monitoring the situation in case we needed to get boots on the ground. The 3 Mexican UFO investigators? 100% true. I often work closely with other groups such as NICAP and other investigators. They were not working in conjunction as MUFON but keeping me in the loop as a colleague. This is I prefer to work! Together and playing well with others!
7. The IMPLANT. The ultimate violation of confidentiality! The worse action one can perform as this field as NOW...who will trust you?
This Implant is a case out of Oklahoma. The witness remains confidential and the case sits in the Special Assignment Team because of the witness request. He is Army Retired. I will not discuss any details about this as I am under obligation of honor. However, the implant has maintained the providence and the chain of custody will pass scrutiny. Nothing is hidden on this document and for Leech to insinuate anything else is offensive coming from someone that does NOT have all the details in this case as he is not a SAT investigator.
8. My "YES" people: Please feel free to talk with the MANY people I do work closely with in MUFON. Phoenix MUFON, The team editing the State Director's Handbook, the SAT investigators, CAG, State Directors,....anyone. I'm very sure that my reputation will not be nor is currently a dictator, control freak! Another elaborate comment with no basis. It's HIS opinion!
9. The "Strategic Review Team new Person"....This is difficult to understand why Leech is so bothered by this team or it's new Lead. 100% this team is lead by a new member that is currently taking her FI training. She is a former Naval Commander with a huge imprint in the Pentagon. She has worked with the top officials in our Defense Department. Yes, she has had some intelligence background. (ALL military do these days at some degree). Her "JOB" is in messaging and helping us get to the State Directors and FIs, talking points about the latest trending information. She is also assist in the creation of our congressional dossier. It's a MEDIA position and there is NO tenure in MUFON. If a volunteer is asking to help and brings something significant to the table, why would we pass and place her or anyone else in the back? There is no shocking "there/there". However, word the complaint just right and it sounds like MUFON is being taken over by spies or 3 letter agencies. Why would these agencies bother, they can get the information....IT'S PUBLIC!
I do not want to rant on and my response will NOT be 5 pages nor will I ever address Leech's dis-information, fake facts and complaints again. I know exactly what his beef is and I will not discuss this as a professional.
It seems the thing to do...go on Facebook, grandstand with a pointed finger and convince yourself you're doing this all for the right reasons! WRONG! This behavior hurts EVERYONE in MUFON. His betrayal to confidential conversations is known to create an environment of suspicion no one wants. I have said 100 times....WHY would I pay a membership, volunteer 60-70 hours a week, spend way more money than I should to have to walk on egg shells or watch my back! I won't do it. When people break trust...what would anyone do?
You bet I am trying to discourage the "Good Old Boy" mentality as (it rarely exists anymore), we don't need it and it's a stumbling block for those that are actually contributing!
Unfortunately, Leech did not see the three fingers pointing back at him when he decided to point that finger and post his complaints. (Maybe this is the ultimate lesson to use the MUFON grievance instruction), instead of publicly outing your own actions of fake facts and dishonest conclusions. Beware of those that expose others but forget to tell the whole story. 
I suspect that the next discussion on Facebook will be that "Chase won't work with me"!!! How many would after betraying friends (repeating constantly, "you can trust me"), outing very simple drama outside of the organization you claim to keep in best interests, or someone that launches accusations without fact checking. THIS IS A DISCREDIT ATTEMPT plain and simple!
This will be the last time I will be involved with this as most know, I will not feed the beast. This drama can suck up major time and energy and I don't have much of either. I am NOT engaging anymore but I am so completely grateful for Jack asking for my side! It is classy and how it should be done!
Anyone wanting more clarity, please contact me. chasekloetzke@yahoo.com

I also want to thank ALL of the support and people forwarding me the information and standing by me if needed. We are MUFON!!!!!!!!

MUFON Director of Communications Roger Marsh Jan. 19 email in full:
Tough to comment on something like that. Mr. Leech is basically a nice guy and a hard worker - we worked together last year on the Cases of Interest project and he was a brilliant contributor. He is making accusations without complete pictures I guess. I was never missing from MUFON in December - everyone knew I was out with the flu for three weeks. The January Journal was (as it is every year) - completed early so we can take some down time for the holidays. Returning on January 10, I then updated staff January 11 on the February and March Journals that were in progress. I was never involved in "holding up" MUFON for funds. There were no multiple year-end bonuses. For quite a few years now, everyone knows, I do not travel alone, due to health issues. The recent Symposium was very close to me and it was great to meet-up with my colleagues I only know via email and telephone. I requested bringing along an assistant due to my health, and it was graciously granted. All MUFON cases that make it into a network television show have MUFON credit - always. I am hired as an outside consultant (content producer) to work on the television projects, but in any scenario, MUFON would make the largest piece of the pie. If I am contributing to a show, I would be paid directly from the production company - a normal and professional process. All MUFON assets going in any direction must meet the standards and approvals from headquarters. All current relationships with networks are approved and monitored closely by Headquarters with weekly updates. I do give MUFON some volunteer hours; and have a relationship with a recent book project too. I complete all of my work from a home office because I care for my wife full-time as well - very close to a hospice situation at this point after a long series of multiple strokes. All the best wishes for Mr. Leech - but his facts are not correct. Anyone who knows me personally,knows I would not behave in that manner nor conduct business in that manner. Thank you.

Former PA MUFON State Director John Ventre Jan. 19 email in full:
I turned the 501c3 over to Fred Saluga in 2017 and now John Doucette from what I understand. I have never had a lab in my house; especially not a meth lab. I have an old copy of the c3 and don’t see where that is indicated anywhere. I never received any compensation from MufonPa as their Director and certainly spent a lot of my own money in this field. MufonPa donated to HQ 10% of conference proceeds per their guidelines for using their name and I donated my own money the same as I did for numerous other non-profits. I was a Tocqueville Society member for United Way at the time. Frankly, every time my name comes up with these gullible far left delusional groupies I get criticized. If you follow me, you will know that I have critiqued the alien abduction since 2014, proved the Kecksburg crash near my home was a U.S. spy satellite and I recently offered a $30k reward for medically accepted proof of aliens with no takers and exited the field. I enjoy the entertainment value of the field which was why I entered it to write my novels. I like the new Project Blue Book show but there is zero scientifically recognized proof of aliens and I agree with Creation Ministries and it’s Alien Intrusion movie. Too bad I couldn’t get into that movie with Joe Jordon. I am really trying to sever my ties with this field as I am, as always, heavily involved in my community and UFOs hurt my credibility.