Thursday, June 26, 2014

Exploring the UFO Cover Up

The topic of Jeff Ritzmann's latest Paranormal Waypoint was alleged UFO cover up. The show aired on KGRA Radio the evening of Tuesday, June 24. I found listening and following along in the chat room to be time well spent.

As the episode came to a close, Ritzmann suggested he finds the topic quite interesting and could discuss it for hours. I can relate to that, and would therefore like to write some about it.

Buzz Killer of a Topic

For one thing, I particularly appreciated Ritzmann's willingness to address at length the complexities of UFOs as they relate to spy games, deception operations and disinformation. Important phrase here, please: This is typically not an activity that garners much support. As a matter of fact, careful and accurate examination of government UFO-related sleight of hand is entirely likely to substantially decrease one's popularity within the UFO community.

There are several reasons that is the case. All of those reasons pretty much boil down to the same thing, though: Supporters of the ETH – or even those who tend to see UFOs as indicative of some kind of yet to be understood high strangeness – become insecure. If we can get past that and understand there are many extremely interesting aspects of ufology that do not necessarily have anything to do with the experiences and perceptions of anyone in particular, we liberate ourselves to embark on some very intriguing subject matter.

You know how it goes, though. Reporting on hoaxes and professional photo analysis just are not crowd pleasers. It's very similar with considerations of spooks in ufology in that if you suggest the G-Men are hanging around for any other reasons than to hide and explore an alien presence, or at the least a mysterious phenomenon, you're often encouraged to pack up your research and take it down the road. I therefore appreciated Ritzmann's careful and measured approach to the topic.

Why so Much Official Interest in Ufology if There's No Cover Up?

As Ritzmann explained, there are actually many reasons the intelligence community might take an interest in manipulating circumstances and reports surrounding public perception of UFOs. Those reasons include but are by no means limited to:

- Leading global adversaries to fear extraordinary "UFOs" are actually advanced exotic US aircraft and weapons of which they are defenseless.

- Leading adversaries to fear UFOs may actually be alien spacecraft, of which any number of concerns should arise, including US officials have reverse engineered aspects of the craft and/or collaborated with the occupants to receive access to advanced technology.

- Leading adversaries to frustratingly conclude they have become confused about UFOs to the point of accepting they have virtually no idea what is flying around, who flies it or what its capabilities may be (not entirely unlike many members of the UFO community).

- Meme creation and tracking, which have been repeatedly demonstrated by agencies such as the USAF and DARPA to be prioritized and valued for psychological warfare reasons ranging from spreading dissent to manipulating superstitions.

- The use of public perception of the UFO phenomenon as cover for classified operations that have nothing to do with unexplained aerial phenomena, extraterrestrial life or anything of the kind. 

Many more reasons could be listed with citations of confirmed examples. It's not just hypothetical by any means, but documented Cold War history.

Further complicating the already complex circumstances is the popular yet unsubstantiated suspicion of an all-knowing, ultra secret governmental body that scrupulously conceals the answers to all our questions. There is almost certainly no small group of select individuals or single person aware of details about everything of ufological interest ranging from Roswell to Rendelsham. Neither is there a lone reason employed for some 70 years as to why the intelligence community manipulates various circumstances that we, in UFO circles, typically interpret to be related to ufology. There are lots of different reasons. Specific purposes change from one circumstance to the next. There is no single reason Uncle Sam - and his evolving personnel from one era to the next - would go to so much trouble; it involved matters of opportunity, necessity and feasibility from any given situation to another.

To many a UFO enthusiast the issues of interest become if the powers that be have any direct knowledge of the actual nature of UFOs and if they are intentionally covering it up. As Ritzmann aptly pointed out, that is going to be difficult to conclusively answer for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest challenges is that learning more is no longer a matter of getting just Uncle Sam to open his archives - and difficult as that may have been. Those days are gone and it's now even more complicated.

The Other CIAs

Controversial philanthropist Robert Bigelow has been flip flopping between acting as a funding source and pulling the rug out from under ufologists for decades. If he has obtained any information of particular relevance, many would argue we'd sooner get the NSA to lay their cards on the table – and assuming, of course, they're not virtually one and the same. In preparation for a previous post, I asked Col. John Alexander a few questions about his interpretations of some situations in which he was involved with Bigelow at the time, including the Carpenter Affair and if the colonel was at liberty to discuss relationships between Bigelow corporations and intelligence agencies.

"You should ask Bigelow if you are interested in old affairs," Alexander replied

Private citizens and private corporations, under no obligations to the Freedom of Information Act and conducting what amount to intelligence operations, may pose some of the greatest challenges of all to researchers' abilities to document actuality. The difficulties are in all likelihood an intentional outcome whether or not the UFO mystery may have played a minor role in their design.

A former BAH contractor
you may have heard of
Washington, DC-based consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton reports an annual revenue approaching six billion dollars. Some 99% of its contracts are awarded from the US Federal government, including the NSA, FBI, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Army and Marines. The corporation is a popular employment option for both current and former professional intelligence personnel, and its executives have included former and future high ranking officials and directors of such agencies as the CIA, NSA, National Intelligence Agency and Homeland Security, among others.

You're not going to be getting access to BAH's files. Not now, not in the foreseeable future and probably not ever. There will be no declassification process, and BAH is but one corporation of many providing Uncle Sam with options for intelligence outsourcing; options that some liken to non-governmental CIAs. Those would be, in effect, intelligence agencies never subjected to Congressional oversight.

Mirage Men

I'm not trying to tell you there are no UFOs – and neither did Ritzmann. But I am most certainly trying to tell you to at least suspend judgment pending verifiable information before you draw conclusions about what roles the intelligence community may have played in the apparent UFO mystery.

Another point of interest for me on Paranormal Waypoint Tuesday was a situation described by Ritzmann relating to the complexities of trying to reason our way through subject matter so often involving deception. He explained a circumstance about witnesses who apparently did not know each other and resided far apart, yet offered similar testimony. Ritzmann questioned whether or not such a situation might be as credible as it initially appears, considering the resources available to professional architects of deception. Ritzmann particularly questioned the decision-making process of researchers who choose to accept such witness testimony as accurate and subsequently promote it. 

I happen to currently be reading The Rosetta Deception by James Carrion. While any number of circumstances could be cited involving procedures to intentionally cultivate rumors and spread propaganda that would justify Ritzmann's concerns, I will call on Carrion since his work happens to currently be sitting on my desk.

Head of the covert BSC William Stephenson,
credited with changing American public
 perception of issues related to World War II
On page 62, in a chapter in which Carrion conclusively demonstrates the manners a rumor can be simultaneously spread by multiple sources, including news agencies seemingly 'verifying' the story by quoting one another, he documented protocol as developed by the British Security Coordination. "Rumors are most effective," the BSC trained its personnel during the mid 20th century, "if they can be originated in several different places simultaneously and in such a way that they shuttle back and forth, with each new report apparently confirming previous ones."

The skilled and effective BSC also noted that a good rumor should never be traceable to its source. Please be advised that there is indeed no substitute for actually confirming a claim. Verifiable evidence available for public review is virtually the only circumstance that justifies anything more than suspension of judgment in such situations.

I'd like to leave you with one more consideration, please. I was recently reviewing rather fascinating circumstances described in a now declassified CIA report written by Edward F. Deshere and titled, Hypnosis in Interrogation. Deshere described the deviously deceptive work of MKULTRA Subproject 84 lead researcher Dr. Martin Orne and his "magic room":
A captive's anxiety could be heightened, for example, by rumors that the interrogator possesses semi-magical techniques of extracting information. A group of collaborating captives could verify that interrogees lose all control over their actions, and so on. After such preliminary conditioning, a "trance" could be induced with drugs in a setting described by Orne as the "magic room," where a number of devices would be used to convince the subject that he is responding to suggestions. For instance, a concealed diathermy machine could warm up his hand just as he receives the suggestion that his hand is growing warmer. Or it might be suggested to him that when he wakes up a cigarette will taste bitter, it having been arranged that any cigarettes available to him would indeed have a slight but noticeably bitter taste. With ingenuity a large variety of suggestions can be made to come true by means unknown to the subject. Occasionally these manipulations would probably elicit some form of trance phenomenon, but the crucial thing would be the situation, not the incidental hypnotic state. The individual could legitimately renounce responsibility for divulging information much as if he had done it in delirium.

Perhaps Deshere is giving us a glimpse into one of the most intriguing aspects of all of the Mirage Men's elusive tricks: They did not have to perfect the brainchildren born in the labs of mad scientists – or necessarily even get the ideas to work at all – as much as lead the world to believe so. A preferred mind control technique may have been to lead a subject to believe his handlers possessed effective mind control techniques.

Did similar deceptions come into play in UFO Land as depicted by Mark Pilkington in his book and resulting film? Certainly so. The relevant questions become the extents and specific circumstances.

Is the UFO cover up more about leading certain people to believe there is a cover up than there actually is one? That would certainly serve some deceptive purposes as listed above, such as confusing and inducing fear in adversaries. However, I think the answers to such questions ultimately depend on each specific circumstance.

Many documents will remain classified that reveal secrets of Mirage Men tactics involving the manipulation of beliefs of alien visitors and UFOs, yet had nothing to do with what some might describe as actual UFO phenomena. See the complexities of declassifying such information - and the inherent impracticality to a formal UFO disclosure?

While official lips remain sealed about some Mirage Men operations, ufologists will continue to often incorrectly interpret that lack of government disclosure as necessarily indicative of an orchestrated UFO cover up. Where the line is drawn, and what the differences may be, between UFO-related deceptions and actual phenomena will remain intriguing questions – and probably unanswered – for a long, long time.


  1. As to meme creation there's perhaps another consideration for a part of the ufo phenomenon, the power of suggestion or the mind's ability to create beyond our awareness.. My first of two sightings occurred only a month after I finally decided that many credible sounding people were at least seeing *something* in the sky or elsewhere. I was rather consumed with ufos by that time though I couldn't buy many of the theories as to what they were seeing. I couldn't dismiss their credible accounts regardless of their beliefs. So when I had time to study the sky, I saw a ufo passing overhead. The timing was incredible to me and it has nudged at me ever since.

    I decided to visit another site I read only occasionally after considering your latest offering and my thoughts on it, the Robert Moss blog. He addresses much better what I might have to say on this matter, or rather his interpretation of Jung's fishes might be a better fix for reality making a solely personal creation or something within the mass market of mind antics, a theory which would not curry much favor in the ufo community. It seems to fit what happens to me when I meditate on a regular basis, however, so I have to include it as possible if not probable. It's entitled "Symbol magnets and Jung's fish tales." The entire blog entry may be worth the read.

  2. I Dream of Jeannie + Jose Chung's From Outer Space + Lord of Illusion = reality