Tuesday, May 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 3, 2019

DoD Contradicts Knapp Story on TTSA Vids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The May 2 DoD statement posted by Greenewald:

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

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