Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Consequences of Covert and Unethical Operations

The spread of tuberculosis is on the rise in rural Alabama. Researchers blame the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study as a significant factor in public aversion to healthcare in the region. Let's explore how some unethical and covert projects have detrimental consequences on public perception of the medical community and result in poor healthcare practices.   

Tuskegee and Guatemala

Tuskegee Institute, circa 1916
The Center for Disease Control reports that in 1932 the Public Health Service, working jointly with the Tuskegee Institute, launched a study to record the progression of syphilis among black men. Taking place in Central Alabama, the undertaking was titled, "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male." The project was later considered unethical and found to have neglected to facilitate proper informed consent for research subjects. Originally slated to last six months, it went on for 40 years while failing to treat hundreds of infected individuals. Medical care continued to be withheld in lieu of observation long after effective treatments were developed by the medical industry. 

Perhaps most heinously, research subjects were led to believe they were receiving free healthcare. In fact, terms of their participation included burial insurance.

The Public Health Service also used its resources to conduct a similar study in Guatemala. From 1946 to 1948 the U.S. organization funded a collaboration with the Pan American Sanitary Bureau and various Guatemalan government agencies. An estimated 1000 to 3000 Guatemalans were subsequently infected with venereal diseases. The abused included soldiers, orphans, mental patients, and prisoners.

From the "Why do they hate us so much?" file: In addition to infecting Guatemalan citizens, Uncle Sam also overthrew their elected government.

In 1954 the CIA sponsored a coup in Guatemala. Operation PBSUCCESS, as it would become known, ousted the nation's president, but not before rumors of CIA involvement were published in a white paper. To minimize consequences of the white paper, a now declassified CIA cable reveals assets were instructed to consider distracting public attention by such means as to "fabricate big human interest story, like flying saucers." The declassified cable inspired the 2003 New York Times article title, Word for Word/Coup Control; The C.I.A.'s Cover Has Been Blown? Just Make Up Something About U.F.O.'s.

Mistrust of Medical Professionals

Fast forward to 2016. About 115 miles west of Tuskegee you'll find Marion, Alabama, right in the heart of a county hit hard by a lack of trust for public healthcare. The consequences of rejecting medical care can be seen in a rise in the highly contagious and fatal tuberculosis disease, and the reasons for mistrust include dwindling public funds. The community doesn't even have a hospital, leaving some residents feeling isolated and abandoned.

The reasons for mistrust also include echoes of the Tuskegee Study. As The New York Times reported in 2016, "Many people in Marion, where about 63 percent of the residents are black, said they knew little about what had happened in Tuskegee, but they often said their wariness of medical professionals had been passed on through generations."

Harper's Magazine article published in the June, 2017, edition documented the TB outbreak in Marion to be nearly 100 times the national average. For some context, that puts the community at a higher infection rate than such third world countries as India, Kenya and Haiti.

Several strategies have been implemented by medical staff to try to encourage TB screenings, including throwing festive parties and even offering financial incentives, but progress has been slow. Harper's reports that residents often feel distrustful and fear being targeted by outsiders.

Similar social dynamics can be observed in a relatively recent CIA fake vaccination drive. The Agency covertly used medical personnel to claim they were providing vaccinations to children in Pakistan, but were actually extracting DNA. The samples were wanted for testing during a reported hunt for Osama bin Laden. The lead doctor was imprisoned by Pakistani authorities for cooperating with American intelligence agents, and residents understandably became wary of vaccine programs and international healthcare workers. Scientific American reported in its article, How the CIA's Fake Vaccination Campaign Endangers Us All, that villagers along the Pakistan-Afghan border subsequently chased off a legitimate vaccination team, among other concerning events.

There are most assuredly men and women of high integrity who serve their countries and fellow human beings honorably throughout both the medical industry and intelligence community. However, past actions carry consequences, and trust must be built and maintained. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

New Book and Upcoming Conference

UFOs: Reframing the Debate
I'm pleased to report that UFOs: Reframing the Debate from White Crow Books is now available. The nonfiction book is edited by Robbie Graham with artwork by Red Pill Junkie. It consists of several essays written by authors who hold a variety of different perspectives.

I'm proud to have been extended an invitation to contribute. The chapter I wrote, The Future Leads to the Past, explores the ways preconceived notions might influence interpretations of events which haven't even happened yet. Factors that pave the way to resulting misunderstandings are considered, along with what can be done to reframe the UFO debate and cultivate a healthier, more functional community.

Fellow contributors include Greg Bishop, Mike Clelland, Joshua Cutchin, Lorin Cutts, and SMiles Lewis, among many more. Each offer their own point of view on dynamics within ufology. Perhaps you'll choose to give the book a read.

Roswell UFO Festival

Just around the corner is the upcoming festival in Roswell. I hope to see lots of you there!

I'll be speaking at a conference titled, 70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. The event runs from June 29 to July 2, and includes such fellow speakers as Nick Redfern and Michael Heiser, PhD. The conference is organized by Guy Malone, who will also be presenting his research and ideas. Click the link to learn more about costs, schedule, live streaming, and much more.

I'll be sharing things I've learned about ways the UFO topic has been exploited by the intelligence community, and how the UFO and intel communities overlap. They are at times one and the same.

We'll also take a look at how self-described investigators of alleged alien abduction persist in cultivating unsubstantiated beliefs, including via the use of hypnosis. This has been done in spite of warnings issued by qualified experts of the potential dangers to the hypnosis subjects, and study upon study conclusively shows hypnosis to be unreliable as a memory enhancer. Moreover, investigators have a demonstrable history of averting from opportunities to properly secure and test forensic evidence, opting instead to remain heavily reliant upon witness testimony often obtained during hypnosis sessions.

The decades of such dynamics will be considered, and I think it deserves much more attention than it typically receives in order to better understand how some premature beliefs have been promoted and fostered. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of you as I hope to contribute in a constructive manner to the event and genre.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

DoJ Responds to FOIA Appeal, Directs FBI to Search Further for Lash Files

A May 10 email from the Department of Justice stated my appeal for files on Jeffrey Alan Lash "has been processed with the following final disposition: completely reversed/remanded." The email was from the DoJ Office of Information Policy and addressed an appeal filed due to the FBI previously reporting requested records were unable to be identified. From the DoJ email:

Readers will recall my post on the Lash case summarized the 2015 story of a man found dead in a vehicle in the Los Angeles upscale community of Pacific Palisades. The bizarre saga involved a stash of millions of dollars in weapons and ammo, about a quarter of a million dollars in cash, and testimonies that the deceased had claimed to be an ET-human hybrid working with U.S. intelligence agencies, among other odd plot twists. The post went on to become my most viewed by far, and continues to consistently be among the most viewed per week in spite of having been posted two years ago.

Outside Pacific Palisades condo where Lash reportedly lived
in what an LA police captain called the worst case of
weapons hoarding she'd seen in her 27-year law enforcement career  

My initial FOIA request to the FBI for records on the Lash case was filed in 2016. I was subsequently informed by the Bureau in a letter dated Dec. 15, 2016, that records were unable to be identified, but it was added that the "response neither confirms nor denies the existence of your subject's name on any watch lists." It was also clarified to be a standard notification "and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist."

The letter further stated, "If you have additional information pertaining to the subject that you believe was of investigative interest to the Bureau, please provide us the details and we will conduct an additional search."

I subsequently wrote, in part, in an appeal dated Feb. 1, 2017:
I therefore point out 'The Guardian', in an article dated July 23, 2015, reported the late Mr. Lash believed he "was a secret government operative under constant surveillance by the CIA, the FBI or both." The article may be viewed at:

Similarly, 'The Washington Times' reported Lash identified himself to neighbors as "Bob Smith" and "claimed to have worked for either the FBI or CIA." The July 23, 2015, article may be viewed at:

'The Los Angeles Times' and many other media outlets reported similar circumstances. Files available for release are therefore requested on any investigations the Bureau may have conducted of Jeffrey Alan Lash, as well as any interest in or relationships with Lash.

Let's hope a further search for responsive records at the FBI turns up something interesting and available for release. For those of you following the political sword rattling taking place between the White House and FBI, it might be worth noting that the letter received in the May 10 email was actually contained in a pdf, and was dated March 23. For whatever reasons, the March letter was not emailed until the day after former Director James Comey was fired. I mention this because it might or might not indicate ripples of the political turbulence reach throughout the FOIA staff and process in some manner. 


View previous posts on the Jeffrey Alan Lash case and my related FOIA requests

Monday, May 8, 2017

Boyd Bushman, the FBI and Counterespionage

"[T]here didn't seem to be an official reason for the CIA to pay any attention to UFO research. Then, in 1990, Ron [Pandolfi] told me the official reason: the possibility of espionage. He said that in the 1970's, the CIA had obtained 'firm evidence' that the KGB had devised a plan to use US citizens, including UFOlogists, to penetrate the US defense program."
- Bruce Maccabee, PhD, The FBI-CIA-UFO Connection: The Hidden UFO Activities of USA Intelligence Agencies (p. 354)

In this post I'll explore how fantastic stories of alleged aliens might sometimes contain underlying relevant themes manipulated by the intelligence community while having nothing to do with extraterrestrials or UFOs.

Boyd Bushman

The late Boyd Bushman and a photo of suspect origin
In 2014 a video featuring an interview with the now deceased scientist Boyd Bushman made a bit of an internet splash. While the original vid has come and gone for whatever reasons, the gist of it is currently available on YouTube

Bushman can be seen sharing fantastic stories of alleged extraterrestrials, including photographs. The images were soon shown to be strikingly similar to plastic figurines available at Walmart, as documented at several websites. 

The then-elderly Bushman stated that during his career at Lockheed Martin he developed a network of contacts who exchanged stories (and obviously photos) about alleged activities at Area 51. The video contained Bushman's disjointed remarks about Chinese and Russian scientists collaborating with Americans, as well as statements about research conducted into anti-gravity technology. 

Bushman also stated, "The intelligent ones... and me believe that a great deal of information should be lifted up from those dark recesses of Area 51 and moved over so people can see it."

National Security Implications

Please understand when people holding security clearances start whispering around water coolers about classified information they think should be published, it tends to attract attention. More on that shortly, but first let's take a look courtesy of The Black Vault at an investigation launched by the FBI into the activities of Boyd Bushman. 

A 1999 FBI memo established Bushman was indeed employed at Lockheed Martin (LM). The man's claims of holding Top Secret clearance while working as a Senior Specialist were also verified. Please note, however, LM expressed concerns to the Bureau of what "may be an ongoing attempt to elicit LM proprietary or USG classified information" surrounding Bushman:  

The FBI appears to have assigned a Special Agent (SA) to address "intriguing questions" and determine the specifics of the situation:

Fax messages pertaining to FBI and Lockheed Martin investigations were included in one of two files released by the Bureau to The Black Vault. The faxes addressed concerns about the security of weapons projects and other classified information, as well as identities and interests of Bushman's international contacts. From a 1999 fax:

The FBI files on Bushman published at The Black Vault offer interesting insight into counterespionage investigation and I recommend reading them. Bushman is profiled as an intelligent yet impatient man, annoyed at what he seemed to feel were restrictions imposed upon him by his security clearance. Simply stated, he wanted to network. While the man does not appear to have intentionally violated any security obligations, he most certainly desired to discuss his work, ideas, and beliefs with others, throughout both his industry and the world - and he did.

Ufology Implications

The ways the UFO topic might become exploited as an espionage tool by the global intelligence community is among the least explored aspects of ufology. It is not surprising the dynamics are not well understood. Those interested in flying saucers and accompanying seemingly paranormal phenomena typically aren't concerned about counterintelligence protocols. Similarly - although from a different point of view - those with a skeptical eye tend to disengage once they feel confident a lack of ET presence has been established. Both demographics often fail to drill down through additional points of potential interest left in the wake of select reports. There may sometimes be much more to learn about a case than whether or not it has aliens or paranormal qualities.

In defense of the skeptical viewpoint, I interpret it to be generally agreed that conspiracy theories are minimized for reasons that include promoting a more accurate and healthy worldview. While this is understandable, an alternative valid argument can be made that a point comes in which suppressing considerations of deception operations becomes standing in denial of authentic declassified documents.

It has long been apparent the UFO topic attracts a number of people who hold security clearances in their employment at intelligence agencies and contractors. It shouldn't be difficult to envision the opportunities such interest provides adversaries to try to befriend the individuals and gain trust through the use of fabricated UFO-related stories, ultimately gaining access to classified info. The impact on the genre is potentially significant, and many cases can be cited which carry implications. 

Intelligence operations, counterintelligence operations, and their often present elements of deception are an entire area of specialized historical research. The cultural significance is well established and studied at length by scholars. It's time ufology integrated it into the genre, and more deeply explored how the overlapping of the intelligence and UFO communities impacts public perception of the topic.


I'll be discussing the above issues and much more this summer in Roswell. I'll be speaking at a conference taking place as part of the annual UFO festival and themed, 70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. Please consider joining me.


Related posts:

NSA Interest in the Paranormal


Further Research Is Justified