Monday, July 30, 2018

UFO Misinformation: Relevant as It Ever Was

The late Paul Bennewitz
Paul Bennewitz lived just outside Kirtland Air Force Base, where he became convinced aliens were executing a plan to take over the planet. Air Force personnel contributed to reinforcing and shaping the man's beliefs, according to Greg Bishop's 2005 nonfiction book, Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth

Bishop was prominently featured in Mirage Men, a 2013 documentary written by Mark Pilkington and directed by John Lundberg and others. The film explores at length the circumstances of Bennewitz's ill fated association with Richard Doty, who, during the time in question, was an Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent. Bennewitz also became acquainted with UFO researcher William Moore, further sealing the confused Bennewitz's unfortunate fate. 

The work of Bishop and Pilkington is essential material in gaining understandings of what's known and speculated about the Bennewitz chain of events, as well as the general intelligence community propagation of UFO-related stories. An abundance of unsubstantiated assumptions about UFOs and their extraterrestrial, underground dwelling, cattle mutilating pilots - which are now commonly yet mistakenly taken for granted as accurate - can be directly traced to events and the cast of characters surrounding Paul Bennewitz. And none of it was true. 

Also deserving mention is an article by Alejandro Rojas titled, Open letter to the U.S. Air Force regarding allegations of UFO disinformation. The 2014 piece takes readers through the FOIA efforts of Rojas surrounding the Bennewitz case. The citations contain a wealth of material for potential further FOIA requests. FOIA subject material may also be mined from Project Beta and Mirage Men.

My FOIA efforts include submitting the above material quoted from Project Beta to multiple agencies. Former Special Agent Doty apparently told Bishop about investigations surrounding Bennewitz. I have yet to receive any positive responses but, as often seems to be the case with such matters, my preparation to appeal the unfilled requests presents more circumstances worthy of FOIA submissions.

Take, for example, statements below contained in a letter written by Doty and sent to Jim Moseley, published in Moseley's July 15, 2000 edition of Saucer Smear:

I encourage interested parties to cite specific published statements as quoted above and submit FOIA requests for files which may have resulted from the alleged circumstances. In the above example, requests might be sent to AFOSI and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

While I find such circumstances intriguing, their relevance arguably goes much further than how interested we may be. There is actually a very important reason to better inform ourselves of past events: It teaches us better understandings of current events.

Richard Doty
Adam Gorightly has a forthcoming book exploring the cultivation of a great deal of questionable UFO stories. He takes a close look at tales surrounding Dulce, the big reveal that never happened at Holloman AFB, the birth of the infamous Serpo fiasco, and much more. I look forward to the release of the book and resulting discussions.

I contend it is important to be aware of these stories because doing so demonstrates the critical significance of prioritizing established facts over suppositions. It should be understood that statements need not be immediately discounted, nor should we necessarily distrust people with ties to the intelligence community. An important point is that there are extremely well documented instances of individuals going to great lengths to control the UFO narrative for a variety of reasons. That being the conclusively demonstrated case, we should proceed with caution - whether someone with a story worked on the federal payroll or not. 

There is no substitute for transparent research practices and making evidence available for public review. We should expect those making claims to understand this as well. As history teaches, beware those who minimize transparency and talk in circles. It doesn't mean every story is not true, but it's not like we don't have valid reasons to suspend judgment until verification comes along. To criticize those who do so is unreasonable.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Gimbal Video and the Misinterpreted 'Fleet' of UFOs

The Gimbal video, which was the first recording presented by To The Stars Academy (TTSA), contains a statement which continues to often be interpreted, likely incorrectly, as suggesting a "fleet" of unidentified aircraft was seen and/or detected by the flight crew. The statement is almost certainly being misunderstood. In all likelihood the individual who made the remark was referring to the common presence of drones, not a high number of UFOs in the vicinity yet not filmed in the video. Let's explore why.

The confusion initially arose due to a statement which can be heard shortly past the 1:10 mark in the video posted by TTSA. "There's a whole fleet of them," an apparent crew member stated in the clip below.

A closer review, however, reveals further context which likely clarifies the remark. As the lone craft in question is apparently discussed by the crew, the statement immediately preceding the more widely known fleet-remark was, "It's a [expletive] drone, bro." 

Then the next statements declare, "There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA."

The man was virtually certainly referencing the just mentioned drone. He was in all reasonable likelihood suggesting there are large numbers, or a fleet, of drones in the sky at any given time, not a fleet of UFOs in the vicinity and off camera. He seemed to be figuratively using the term "fleet" to suggest the general commonality of airborne drones. 

To further clarify the point, an ASA is a flight log. If the TTSA transcription of the statements was correct, and he in fact suggested to look on the ASA, it is extremely unlikely the man would suggest to do that to find a fleet of UFOs in current view. That might particularly be considered unlikely as compared to consulting the ASA for evidence of flights of the immediately just mentioned drones. 

Apparent AATIP director and TTSA man Luis Elizondo fielded a question Friday, as seen below, about the alleged "fleet" of unidentified aircraft. The issue obviously continues to arise.

Elizondo diplomatically declined comment on a "fleet" of UFOs. "There's a difference between putting out information right, and putting out information right now," he said.

There are many posts around the 'net about the Gimbal video and other TTSA material. Readers may find some of the analysis of interest. It is not my intention to attempt to definitively identify the craft in the video (I'm not necessarily suggesting it was a drone). Much more information would seem to be required. My aim in this blog post is to help clarify what many have already discussed, yet keeps seeming to get left out of the narrative, about a likely explanation for the often misinterpreted context of the "fleet" statement. 

It is completely understandable that those intrigued by the UFO topic find the AATIP of deep interest. However, it is important that we weigh the value of information carefully. We should differentiate between authenticated project documents and those (at best) loosely related to the program, as well as apply healthy skepticism to claims lacking sources. Much caution should be taken when we are urged to hold trust in higher priority than a methodical, transparent, and systematic research process. 

Form your beliefs wisely. The UFO genre has a documented history of careless and questionable individuals who try to form your beliefs for you. It is not unreasonable debunking to expect verification of claims and clarification of discrepancies. Such fact-checking should be considered essential to forming better understandings and developing adequately informed opinions, be it in the UFO community or anywhere else. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Steinberg Bankruptcy Failed to Slow Claims of Cash Crisis

Gene Steinberg reported a monthly income of $2,790.76 on a 2016 bankruptcy petition. The Paracast and Tech Night Owl host spent now well documented years seeking cash gifts via email and other media, while consistently framing common living expenses as emergencies and claiming himself virtually destitute. The bankruptcy file is public record and arose through an ongoing open source investigation of Steinberg's financial claims conducted by a growing number of interested parties. 

Offered an opportunity to comment for this blog post, Steinberg replied in a July 18 email that he resents the probe into public records about him and other family members. "I demand that it stop," he added. Steinberg suggested he might ask for a full financial disclosure from me, seemingly oblivious to the difference in the circumstances - sincerely or otherwise.

Reported liabilities, income, and expenses

Blog commenters and social media participants who reviewed the file took issue with such circumstances as a nearly $700 per month car payment. Also questioned was what seemed to be Steinberg's practice of moving into costlier residences following evictions, as pieced together through various email solicitations and public records. More issues also arose, such as whether he reports income from his constant solicitations.

My email to Steinberg particularly sought comment on how one's judgment might reasonably be called into question if they have some $2800 per month income yet are consistently unable to take care of them self. This would be the case regardless of reported expenses, as it would seem they would reconsider choices of expenses, particularly when asking others to financially compensate for those choices.

"My financial struggles are none of your business," Steinberg wrote, adding that he demands others and I cease trolling him and posting what he termed false information. 

In addition to questioning Steinberg's financial choices, it should also be considered that bankruptcy dissolves debt. That is largely the point in filing. One who files bankruptcy typically ceases paying creditors immediately. In spite of this being the case, a review of Steinberg's cash soliciting history shows he continued calls for financial gifts prior to, during, and after the filing.

Steinberg monthly expenses per 2016 bankruptcy
The bankruptcy petition was filed on or about May 9, 2016. It appears during this point in time, mid 2016, Steinberg launched a gofundme page. 

More can be observed from an April 7, 2016, message to his e-list titled, "A Warning from the Power Company." Steinberg tells readers of pending utility and rent payments, requesting their financial help.

July 2, 2016, Steinberg told email recipients "the landlord is torturing us" in a message titled, "Time is Short!". He wrote of eviction and an inability to pay expected deposits required for a new residence he was apparently seeking. He also claimed he was doing everything he could to cut expenses. Such emails were typical and ongoing.

It is difficult to understand how the statements from 2016 emails could be accurate when considered in the context of bankruptcy, in which one often stops paying loans and all unnecessary debt. That is particularly the case when considering the debt relief was combined with some $2800 per month in income. It is unfortunate that reaching out to Gene Steinberg for comment only resulted in rhetoric about trolls.

Readers may choose to ask themselves if Paracast and its associated platforms are reliable sources of information. They may also decide, when supplied with adequate knowledge of the history of the host's actions, if such activities align with those they desire to fund.



Gene Steinberg Personal 'Emergency' Cash Solicitations Span Years, Hundreds of Emails

Updates on Paracast Host Gene Steinberg 'Emergency' Cash Solicitations

Saturday, July 7, 2018

There's Something in the Woods: Hope and Faith

If you take I-4 to Hwy. 27 and follow it south a couple dozen miles or so, you'll come to an “Old Florida” small town by the name of Lake Wales. If you're with someone who knows where they're going, you might then head east on 60 through orange groves and cattle country until you take a right onto a two-lane road. That road runs south through more orange groves into another road that circles a lake. Heading around the lake you'll find a dirt road that winds into some woods. As you make your way into the woods you'll round a corner and encounter an unexpected, seemingly anomalous sight. Rising out of the forest floor in defiance of time and elements is St. Anne's Shrine.

“Wow,” I mumbled as I tossed open the car door to climb out and take a closer look.

A bridge leads to St. Anne's Shrine, where statues depict a kneeling St. Anne to the left
as Mother Mary watches from above 

This seeming monument to humankind's hope and faith stands some twenty or more feet high. An altar is flanked by arched doorways while the top extends and bows forward, sheltering what was no doubt considered the sacred heart of the structure. Personal effects left by visitors have been carefully placed about. Candles and artificial flowers are plentiful, as are ferns growing wild.

Sunlight shimmers through an oak and palm tree canopy upon a stone bridge leading to the shrine. It both literally and metaphorically bridges the world to the statues of St. Anne and Maria on the other side. The bridge crosses a relatively large ditch which appears to have been intentionally dug in a manner to arc around the front of the structure, the remains of a church built some 98 years ago.

A devout Canadian Catholic by the name of Napoleon Pelletier is credited with single-handedly building and maintaining the church while he was visiting the still sparsely populated area. As the story goes, he built the structure about 1920 in gratitude for his ill son's revived health. Read more about the story on Wikipedia

Concrete slabs containing many symbolic decorations lie across the front of the shrine. One quickly assesses this was no small act of devotion manifested as a construction product, much less if undertaken a century ago. Initials carved in a tree trunk, it's not. 

Pelletier's handiwork apparently even included another statue of St. Anne erected upon stone in the nearby lake, though that particular figure is no longer standing. Many people, reportedly numbering into the thousands, made pilgrimages to the church in years long past. The still small road to the structure was crowded with visitors during select holidays.

A smaller stone monument remains to the left of the back of the shrine, where St. Anne stands in front of eleven stone columns. To the rear right is a relatively small stone formation, possibly once used as a christening pool. According to a memorial marker appropriately placed towards the front of the site, Napoleon Pelletier passed away in 1942 and is buried on the site.