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. 

PA MUFON

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 website with very similar graphics 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, MUFON: The Inside Truth:




MUFON Director of Investigations Chase Kloetzke Jan. 19 email concerning the above 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.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sometimes It's Just Con vs. Con

The History Channel's effort to dust off Project Blue Book was met with mixed reviews in the UFO community. In this post we'll look a little deeper into wider implications than the current argument about a television show. In doing so, we find a UFO genre - and arguably American culture at large - which does not expect individuals to possess neither the skills nor inclination to think critically. What's more, this is a long time staple of ufology.


Pro vs. Con

The argument about the dramatization of Blue Book files is basically split into two sides which hold opinions something like these:

Pro: The show is reaching a lot of people and increasing interest in the UFO topic.

Con: People will develop largely incorrect ideas about what took place during Blue Book because the show is not historically accurate on many important points. 

Con vs. Con

While this writer leans towards the con argument of the two positions listed above, a larger point worth considering might be that we tend to doubt the public will know how or even care to establish historical facts. It largely seems that people are not expected to significantly differentiate between a for-profit film production made for entertainment and a for-profit film presented as a factual documentary. Maybe that's because there often isn't much difference. When it comes to UFO media, the cable TV show often isn't particularly any more fictional than the so-called documentary.

We might consider the same about activities called research projects and studies undertaken in the UFO genre. All too often, the hype these studies receive is short lived, and the actual work published - if published at all - turns out to be underwhelming. Given that's the case, it's not difficult to understand why the credibility of paperbacks with dubious tales about alleged alien hybrids seem easily confused with papers containing scientific jargon. They each lack rational conclusions while leaving readers confused. They're kind of the same thing. One's no more credible than the other, and all too frequently they're assigned credibility due to subject rather than expected to achieve credibility through content.

               

Research Ethics

All of the above pretty much brings us to the topic of ethics in research. We frequently receive hearsay accounts of studies being conducted; academic research on UFOs; medical exams of witnesses; government agency work on UFOs, experiencers, and UFO debris; and many others. The list is long and winding. However, much less frequently are we provided details or even reasonably corroborating evidence of such projects. 

Research ethics exist for several reasons, including protecting the health and safety of human research subjects. Another important reason is to protect the integrity of the research. If certain protocols and norms are not followed, which typically include disclosing funding entities, project personnel, methods, and outcomes, the value of the work is in question. It is the adherence to such industry standards, and presenting proposed projects to review boards and completed project reports for peer review, that entitles work to be labeled as credible. We should not be afraid to expect transparency and we should not be intimidated into not asking for it. 

Lastly, the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction, professional research and role playing games, as seen in ufology, may indeed simply be an aspect of a much wider cultural dilemma. Perhaps we should be more concerned about people taking an interest in rational problem solving than UFOs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Steinberg Asked for 'Emergency' Money 222+ Times in 2018

Gene Steinberg sent some 222 "emergency" email cash solicitations during 2018, substantially surpassing his 2017 total of 139. The 2018 total of 222 includes only emails to one specific list, and does not include similar requests made through other e-lists, websites or social media pages, all of which were also used as solicitation tools by Steinberg. The Paracast and Tech Night Owl host's 2018 email requests for cash are listed at the end of this post by subject line and date. Content from each of the emails may be viewed at the Twitter account @SchemeGeneRC.







The most active email month for 2018 was March, with 32 email solicitations. September was second with 26, followed closely by October with 24. The least active months were January and February, in which Steinberg requested cash gifts ten times each. He averaged 18.5 emails per month, or about one every 1.6 days. Over the course of the year, that averages out to a claimed urgent need for people to give him money more frequently than every other day.

The email "emergencies" are consistently basic living expenses, such as rent, utilities and food. The messages encourage list members to send Steinberg funds through various means, such as PayPal, while omitting specific financial details. Also omitted are explanations for how he could purportedly remain unable to take care of himself for so many years, yet expect readers to agree the solution is to keep giving him money. Notably, none of the 222 solicitations request work, but only money. 

This writer continues to assert it relevant that Steinberg claims himself the "gold standard" of paranormal radio, yet his chronic cash solicitations are riddled with contradictions and selective omissions, all taking place within a genre historically known for harboring charlatans. Further calling the circumstances into question are the documented instances of Steinberg's dubious plot lines and misrepresentation of events while simultaneously presenting himself as a reliable signal among the ufology noise.




Check out the following blog posts to learn more about the saga of Steinberg's cash solicitations:

Gene Steinberg's Personal 'Emergency' Cash Solicitations Span Years, Hundreds of Emails, in which the podcaster's long history of claims of financial destitution and rationalizing are documented.

Steinberg Bankruptcy Failed to Slow Claims of Cash Crisis takes a look at 2016 bankruptcy court records. The documents indicate Steinberg claimed some $2700+ per month in Social Security income, yet continued his relentless personal cash solicitations unabated following the discharge of his debt.

Caveat Emptor: A Paracast Saga of Discrepancies, Omissions and Unpaid Restitution documents Steinberg's misrepresentation of events surrounding his now deceased brother-in-law, Stephen Beizer. Steinberg solicited cash purportedly on behalf of Beizer, who Steinberg described as a worthy charity recipient. Results of an open source investigation and criminal court records indicate Beizer, in fact, pleaded guilty to felony theft charges and owed over $186,000 in restitution at the time. Steinberg failed to include either Beizer's criminal conviction or restitution obligations in the cash-seeking narrative, then presented him as a "currency trader" when he was a guest on the Paracast.

Steinberg Court Docs Include Scathing Beizer Letter explores public court records indicating Gene and Barbara Steinberg obtained some $44,000 in personal loans from James Torson between March of 2011 and January of 2012. The couple was sued for failure to repay the loans and judged responsible for the debt, which was later discharged in the above mentioned bankruptcy. The court records include a letter from Beizer, who accused Steinberg of exploiting Beizer's personal situation and handicapped son as excuses to solicit cash, the vast majority of which, Beizer claimed, he never received from Steinberg.




Fraud or other crimes perpetrated through the internet may be reported at the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. Other resources include your state's Attorney General, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Gene Steinberg's 222 email cash solicitations during 2018 by subject line and date:


December (15)

I'm stuck                                                          Dec 31

Struggling through the holiday weekend              Dec 30

I am trying to survive this weekend!                   Dec 28

This may not end well!                                       Dec 27

Holiday emergency!                                           Dec 26

Another lonely holiday!                                      Dec 24

Holiday weekend emergency!                             Dec 22

I'm trying to survive another weekend!               Dec 21

Another holiday without much cheer!                  Dec 18

It's not much better!                                         Dec 14

Still underwater!                                               Dec 10

Last-minute crisis update!                                  Dec 7

Drowning!                                                        Dec 6

It's Getting Worse!                                            Dec 4

I'm sinking fast!                                                Dec 1
  

November (18)

My money situation is getting worse!                  Nov 29

As a lonely weekend ends!                                 Nov 25

Another lonely holiday                                       Nov 21

A Thanksgiving Day Nightmare
About Life on the Street!                                    Nov 19

The weekend crisis!                                           Nov 17

Another plea for help!                                        Nov 15

Tuesday – still going nowhere!                            Nov 13

Lost and alone!                                                 Nov 11

A need some help!                                             Nov 9

Another Way to Help!                                         Nov 9

The Friday Crisis!                                               Nov 9

Is this my last day?                                            Nov 8

Here's why I'm still depressed!                            Nov 7

I'm Underwater Again!                                        Nov 6

A Step Closer to Homelessness!                           Nov 5

The Weekend Struggle!                                       Nov 3

Another Friday Update!                                       Nov 2

We've gotta get out of this place!                         Nov 1


October (24)

I'm stuck in quicksand!                                       Oct 31

Bad to worse!                                                    Oct 30

This is serious! Please read!                                Oct 30

An impossible situation!                                      Oct 29

A very gloomy Friday!                                         Oct 26

Please read this letter!                                        Oct 24

The Nightmare Resumes!                                    Oct 22

Overnight Emergency!                                        Oct 20

Another looming emergency!                              Oct 19

Another looming emergency!                              Oct 18

You can help save my future!                              Oct 17

I barely survived this weekend, and...                  Oct 15

Stop the presses!                                               Oct 13

A weekend cash emergency!                               Oct 13

I can't handle this any longer!                             Oct 12

I'll be lucky if I have enough money
to continue after today!                                      Oct 11

Deadlines and More Deadlines                             Oct 10

An important Tuesday update!                             Oct 9

I'm Under Attack Again!                                      Oct 8

Another Day, Another Deadline!                           Oct 7

Still running in reverse!                                       Oct 5

I've spent my last dollar!                                     Oct 4

It's still collapsing!                                              Oct 3

An S-O-S Message!                                             Oct 1


September (26)

The Sunday crisis!                                             Sep 30

A significant update!                                          Sep 29

Here's why my money situation is worse!            Sep 28

Thursday update!                                              Sep 27

An update on my money dilemma!                     Sep 26

A quick update on ways to help!                         Sep 24

I'm trying to survive this weekend!                     Sep 23

Can it get any worse?                                        Sep 22

More ways you can assist me!                            Sep 21

Important update on the disaster!                      Sep 20

Disaster – Take Two                                          Sep 19

Disaster!                                                          Sep 18

$1.80                                                               Sep 17

Three on a weekend!                                         Sep 16

I suppose I should feel lucky!                             Sep 15

Mid-September update!                                     Sep 13

A trying weekend!                                             Sep 10

A quiet birthday!                                                Sep 9

No, it wasn't Teddy Bear's fault!                           Sep 7

Thursday emergency!                                         Sep 6

Mounting pressures!                                           Sep 5

Gene Steinberg's Personal Messages Message       Sep 4

Stuck on Labor Day!                                            Sep 3

Sunday afternoon in Arizona!                               Sep 2

Holiday weekend's [sic] are
always difficult for me!                                        Sep 2

Stranded on Labor Day weekend!                         Sep 1


August (21)

Holiday weekend problems!                                 Aug 31

Very fast update!                                                Aug 27

Weekend update!                                                Aug 25

Still stuck at zero!                                               Aug 23

The stakes!                                                        Aug 22

A brief crisis update!                                           Aug 22

Stranded!                                                           Aug 21

A very embarrassing moment!                             Aug 19

Down to zero cash again!                                    Aug 18

Ongoing emergencies!                                        Aug 17

Another day, another crisis!                                 Aug 16

Now they're going after my relatives!                   Aug 14

Monday and broke again!                                    Aug 13

The weekend threat!                                           Aug 10

Crisis update!                                                     Aug 9

Update on the crisis!                                           Aug 8

It's happening again today!                                  Aug 7

Time is very short!                                              Aug 6

Not a fun place to be!                                          Aug 6

Important Friday update!                                     Aug 3

Running out of motel money again!                      Aug 1


July (20)

Troubling news!                                                  July 31

A miserable day-to-day existence!                        July 27

Can you help?                                                    July 26

Tapped out!                                                        July 24

Monday update!                                                  July 23

Sunday crisis!                                                     July 22

A last-minute request!                                         July 21

Still on hold!                                                       July 19

Another crisis!                                                    July 17

Progress report such as it is!                                July 16

Here we go again!                                               July 15

Another weekend struggle!                                   July 14

Struggling along!                                                 July 12

A painful move!                                                   July 9

Friday Emergency                                                July 6

Running way short!                                              July 6

Hours left!                                                          July 5

Thursday and Friday deadlines!                             July 4

Deadlines and confusion!                                      July 2

Sunday problems!                                                July 1


June (17)

Here are my current obstacles!                            June 29

Stop the presses!                                                June 28

Still under attack!                                                June 27

The online stalkers are relentless!                         June 25

Update on the fight of my life!                              June 21

It's time for me to fight back!                               June 19

Online stalkers have attacked me again!                June 18

A close encounter with the constable!                    June 15

Barbara is trying to heal from major surgery!         June 14

Back to the cheap motel!                                      June 13

Once again my fate is in your hands!                     June 13

Update on Barbara!                                              June 12

I can't go through this anymore!                            June 11

Another weekend waiting for the end!                     June 10

My life has turned upside down!                             June 9

An early June update!                                            June 8

A brief look at the obstacles I'm facing!                   June 4


May (14)

A Q&A Update!                                                      May 30

Discouraging news!                                                May 29

Rush Update!                                                         May 25

An Urgent Request                                                 May 25

Under Siege Update!                                               May 25

Under Siege!                                                          May 22

The hate campaign intensifies!                                May 20

Going for broke!                                                     May 17

My situation so far!                                                 May 15

Weekend update on hacking!                                   May 11

It appea
rs to be ID theft!                                         May 8

Update on bank hack!                                              May 7

Hacked again!                                                         May 5

May update!                                                            May 1


April (15)

I'm under attack!                                                     Apr 24

Some progress!                                                       Apr 19

The Wrap-Up!                                                          Apr 14

Weekend update!                                                     Apr 13

Closer to the end!                                                    Apr 11

Urgent Moving Update                                              Apr 11

Moving Day!                                                            Apr 11

The night before!                                                     Apr 10

The final stretch – I hope!                                         Apr 10

I'm trying to save my life!                                         Apr 9

An impossible situation!                                            Apr 7

I came real close!                                                     Apr 5

The house hunting continues!                                    Apr 4

An impossible juggling match!                                   Apr 3

Where it stands!                                                       Apr 2


March (32)

Nearly homeless!                                                     Mar 31

A critical progress report!                                         Mar 30

Trying to find a new home!                                       Mar 29

One day at a time!                                                   Mar 28

A Wednesday deadline!                                             Mar 27

A two-day reprieve from homelessness!                     Mar 26

Rush update!                                                           Mar 25

I'm hours from being homeless!                                Mar 25

I'm hours from being homeless!                                Mar 25
[same title, different email and e-list]

Last minute emergency!                                           Mar 23

I'm a day from being homeless!                                Mar 23

Wednesday update!                                                  Mar 22

Running out of motel money!                                    Mar 21

Memo from the cheap motel!                                    Mar 20

A Monday emergency!                                              Mar 18

I need a place to live!                                               Mar 17

We lost our home!                                                    Mar 16

I don't know if this is my last day!                             Mar 16

Update on the lock out threat!                                   Mar 15

I'll probably lose my apartment today!                       Mar 15

The final warning from the property manager!            Mar 14

I hope it's not too late!                                             Mar 13

Still waiting to be forced out!                                    Mar 12

Waiting to be locked out!                                          Mar 12

Second weekend update!                                          Mar 11

I'm out of answers!                                                  Mar 10

It's time for desperate measures!                              Mar 9

I don't think I have a solution this time!                     Mar 7

Waiting for the end!                                                 Mar 6

Bringing you up to date!                                           Mar 4

I'm desperate so I took a chance!                              Mar 1

I hope this isn't my last update!                                Mar 1


February (10)

The final days!                                                         Feb 27

Troubles are piling up!                                              Feb 27

A setback!                                                               Feb 24

They keep finding more things!                                 Feb 22

Still living in suspense!                                             Feb 21

Update on Barbara's medical issues!                          Feb 16

No answers yet!                                                       Feb 13

Maybe a problem!                                                    Feb 8

I'm still fighting for my future!                                   Feb 7

Early February Update!                                             Feb 2


January (10)

There is still time!                                                    Jan 29

Waiting for the constable!                                         Jan 25

It's panic time!                                                        Jan 24

The Assistant Property Manager Sets a Date!             Jan 22

It's down to just a few days once again!                    Jan 22

I may need a place to live soon!                               Jan 18

Living under a new threat!                                       Jan 16

Not a happy Tuesday!                                              Jan 9

Seeking a final solution!                                           Jan 8

An Early January Update!                                         Jan 2