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MAJESTIC 12 & THE SECRET GOVERNMENT

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Author Topic: MAJESTIC 12 & THE SECRET GOVERNMENT  (Read 1713 times)
Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2007, 12:52:23 pm »

Internal Tensions Begin

In late January, 1967, Keyhoe and Hall gave Saunders a clipping of The Elmira Star-Gazette, dated January 26. Condon was quoted as saying that he though the government should not study UFO’s as the subject was nonsense, adding, "but I’m not supposed to reach that conclusion for another year." (Clark, 597) Saunders was stunned. He asked if Condon could have been misquoted, but Keyhoe reported that several NICAP members had been present when Condon delivered his lecture; one of them had resigned from NICAP in protest, arguing that the Condon Committee was nothing more than pretense.

The next day Saunders confronted Condon about the press clipping. Saunders feared that NICAP would end their association with the Committee (thus eliminating a valuable source of case files), and furthermore that the negative publicity following a split from NICAP could harm public perception of the Committee.

In the meantime, Condon had taken no part in the field investigations; he would ultimately investigate at most four or five cases--mostly contactees--of several hundred cases which the Committee examined. Furthermore, the Committee’s members found it difficult to speak with Condon: they usually had to speak to coordinator Low with questions or problems, but were often unsatisfied with Low's efforts. On at least one occasion, Condon fell asleep while a consultant was offering a presentation. Consultant James E. McDonald had initially been hopeful for the Committee, but after making a few presentations and feeling as though Condon completely ignored his contributions, McDonald grew increasingly vocal in his criticism. He would soon begin to detail his view of the Committee’s problems in letters to Frederick Seitz, president of the National Academy of Science.

Despite the growing internal tension, the Committee’s members continued to collect, study and analyze UFO reports, including nearly 40 field investigations around the United States. They investigated a few well-known reports, including an early cattle mutilation report. There was, however, an increasing suspicion among the Committee’s members that their research would be used to support a forgone conclusion. Most of the Committee’s regular members objected to the manner in which Condon and Low were directing the Committee, and several members were considering writing a dissenting minority report if Condon overruled their conclusions that some UFO reports seemed anomalous and deserving of closer scrutiny. The Committee was disturbed that Condon and Low tried to insulate them from Hynek, Vallee, McDonald and others who thought UFOs deserved study, while simultaneously openly consulting with avowed UFO debunkers. That Condon focused most of his interest towards the lunatic fringe of UFO reports disturbed much of the Committee as well. Another particular irritation was that while NICAP and Blue Book had promised to share new UFO reports as quickly as possible, only NICAP had done so. Even Condon--so often criticised for bias and ambivalence--formally complained to the Air Force about their lack of cooperation.

The Committee's members usually worked solo, and rarely (if ever) met as a group to discuss their progress, to critique one another's work, or to reach a consensus on disagreements. Because of this, individuals embraced a number of approaches, sometimes resulting in conflict or disagreements. Notably, the Committee’s members differed in their opinions regarding the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Some (especially Saunders) thought the ETH should be included as one of a range of hypotheses to explain UFOs; others (Notably Low and Wertheimer) rejected any consideration of the ETH. Low wrote a position paper, characterizing the ETH as "nonsense"; Wertheimer adamantly argued that the ETH could neither be proved nor disproved, and he afterwards had little to do with the Committee. (Jacobs, 228) This ETH dispute developed into an ideological and methodological schism among the Committee’s members: One group, championed by Low, thought that "the solution to the UFO mystery was to be found in the psychological makeup of witnesses"; the other group, championed by Saunders, "wanted to look at as much as the data as possible." (Jacobs, 230)

In September 1967, another collision with NICAP was narrowly averted. Keyhoe learned that Condon had given a lecture to the National Bureau of Standards, a group Condon had once chaired. In his lecture, Condon had discussed three UFO reports made by obviously unstable kooks, and had intimated that many or most UFO reports came from such persons. An irritated Keyhoe asked Saunders why NICAP’s time and money should be used in collecting and forwarding UFO reports to the Committee when Condon's bias was obvious. Keyhoe threatened to sever NICAP’s association with the Condon Committee. In spite of his own growing doubts, Saunders convinced Keyhoe that Condon could separate his own opinions from his work, and had simply forgotten to state where his personal opinions began. Keyhoe accepted this, but also warned that if the Committee could not demonstrate a more objective manner, NICAP would cease their involvement and publicize their complaints.

After Keyhoe was mollified (at least temporarily), Saunders told Condon of the development. Condon was nonplussed; if NICAP chose to sever their association he had no objection. After some thirty minutes of discussion, Saunders persuaded Condon to write Keyhoe and report that the quotes from the National Bureau of Standards speech were taken out of context.

Shortly after this, both Low and Condon were quoted in the Rocky Mountain News as expressing their approval of an article in Science arguing against the ETH. Privately and publicly--including during Committee proceedings--Low and Condon were repeatedly arguing that UFO studies were a waste of time. Clark writes that, "By now all that was keeping the staff from open revolt was one hold-out: Roy Craig, who insisted that Condon still had his full confidence." (Clark, 598)

Fearing the worst from NICAP following the Rocky Mountain News story, Low flew from Colorado to Washington DC for a meeting with Keyhoe. Keyhoe asked Low if the Committee was "on the level". According to Keyhoe, Low replied, "I see no reason why you have to determine whether the Colorado Project is on the level or not," and furthermore admitted that Condon had a very negative opinion of the Project and of UFO studies in general. Low noted that much of the Committee held opinions very different from Condon's, but Keyhoe countered that as director, Condon could override any dissenting opinions when the final report was written.

Despite these problems, Low urged Keyhoe to continue sending case files and reports to the Committee. When Keyhoe asked why NICAP should continue supporting a project which had effectively reached its findings, Keyhoe reported Low’s reply as, "If you don’t, the project could be accused of reaching a conclusion without all of NICAP’s evidence." (Clark, 599)
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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2007, 12:53:31 pm »

Cracks in the Dam

Due to several developments in 1966 and 1967, the internal conflicts in the Condon Committee were about to burst into public awareness.

On November 14, 1966, Keyhoe wrote a long letter to Condon (cc’d to Low), detailing his concerns and questions regarding the project. Were Condon and Low’s biases tainting the project? Were the Air Force’s orders directing the project? Had Condon himself read any of the NICAP case studies? Why had Condon himself done so little field research? Condon and Low replied by telling Keyhoe that they were under no obligation to answer his queries. With their non-answer, Keyhoe had nearly reached his breaking point; NICAP was no longer sending UFO case files to the Committee.

[edit]
The Trick Memo Exposed
In July, 1967, Committee Member Roy Craig was scheduled to speak before a Portland, Oregon audience regarding the Condon Committee. When Craig asked Low for some documentation regarding the Committee’s origins, Low gave him a stack of papers, unaware that a copy of the Trick Memo was included. After giving the speech, Craig--previously Condon's staunchest ally on the Committee, other than Low--showed the Trick Memo to Committee member Norman Levine, saying, "See if this doesn’t give you a funny feeling in the stomach." (Clark, 600)

Levine showed the memo to Saunders, who was saddened but not surprised; the memo seemed to explain the attitudes Low and Condon had demonstrated from the project’s beginning. Copies of the Trick Memo were circulated to the entire Committee, barring Low and Condon. Public disclosure of the memo was considered, but decided against: there was still hope that the final report might recommend further study of the UFO phenomenon. Eventually, however, Saunders gave a copy of the memo to Keyhoe. In turn, Keyhoe told James E. McDonald of the memo's contents, but, citing confidentiality promises, did not give him a copy of the memo. Eventually, McDonald located a copy of the memo in the project's open files.

The Trick Memo confirmed McDonald’s worst suspicions about the Committee. In response, he wrote a seven page letter to Condon, explaining point by point, his problems, frustration and disappointment with the Committee's shortcomings. Apparently unaware that the Trick Memo was never intended to see the light of day, McDonald quoted a few lines from it (the same "...the trick would be..." portion cited above), then added, "I am rather puzzled by the viewpoints expressed there ... but I gather that they seem straightforward to you, else this part of the record would, presumably, not be available for inspection in the open Project files." (Clark, 601)

When Condon read McDonald’s letter on February 5, 1968, he became furious. Low read the letter, and Armstrong reported that he "exploded," suggesting that whomever was responsible for McDonald’s having the memo should be fired, before calming down and discussing the affair with Condon. (Saunders and Harkins, 188)

The next day, Condon called a meeting of the Committee to uncover the chain of events that had led to McDonald’s receiving the Trick Memo. Saunders characterized Condon's manner as imperious, behaving as though he were "the Grand Inquisitor." (Saunders and Harkins, 190)

Condon asked the Committee to read McDonald’s letter. When they did, the Committee was initially occupied with the substance McDonald’s incisive, pointed critique and all but ignored the few lines quoted from the Trick Memo.

When Condon wanted to know how McDonald had received a copy of a project memo, Saunders admitted that he’d forwarded the Trick Memo to Keyhoe. Condon reportedly called Saunders "disloyal" and said, "For an act like that you deserve to be ruined professionally." (Saunders and Harkins, 189) Saunders responded, he said, by stating he was loyal to the American public, while Condon seemed beholden to the Air Force.

The next day, in brief letters, Saunders and Levine were fired "for cause", and Condon issued a press release reporting that the men had been fired "for incompetence." The Colorado Daily asked Condon to elaborate on the nature of the incompetence, and he declined. Fearing libel charges from Saunders and Levine if the paper ran unqualified accusations of incompetence, the Colorado Daily omitted the reason for Saunders and Levine’s termination, thus angering Condon. (Saunders and Harkins, 193) Though the Trick Memo had never formally been declared confidential or personal, and though McDonald had located the memo in the project's open files, Condon repeatedly insisted in subsequent months that McDonald had "stolen" it from Low’s personal files. (Saunders and Harkins, 201)

Condon telephoned the president of the University of Arizona to report that McDonald had stolen the trick memo from the Project’s files, and also wrote a letter to the Air Force to deprecate Levine in an attempt to harm his security clearance. (These were not the only instances in which Condon tried to damage someone’s career after they’d dissatisfied him regarding the UFO Project. Condon had earlier tried to get Committee consultant Robert M. Wood fired from his McDonnell Douglas position after Wood had written "a critical but polite letter listing his concerns about project shortcomings"; and Condon would later consider blocking Carl Sagan’s entry into the distinguished Cosmos Club because Sagan--though quite skeptical of UFOs--had been "too soft on UFOs for Condon's taste." (Clark, 603)

On February 24, 1968 administrative assistant Mary Lou Armstrong resigned from the Condon Committee. In her letter she wrote staff morale had reached a deplorable depth, and that "there is an almost universal 'lack of confidence'" in coordinator Low, arguing that much of the Committee's troubles was Low's fault. "Had you (Condon) handled the direction of our activities, there would not have been such a serious conflict." (Hynek, 244)
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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2007, 12:54:27 pm »

Publicity

On April 30, 1968, Keyhoe held a press conference to announce that NICAP had severed all ties with the Committee. He circulated copies of the Trick Memo, which received wide publicity.

A few weeks later, Low himself left the UFO project. As Don Ecker writes, "Robert Low left the project officially on May 24, 1968. It was realized that in view of the 'trick memo' if Low had any part of the final report, it would not have any public credibility."[3]

By now, the Condon Committee’s conflicts were being covered in the mass media, including a John G. Fuller article, "Flying Saucer Fiasco" in the May, 1968 issue of Look, a general interest magazine quite popular in its day. Including interviews with Saunders and Levine, Fuller detailed the controversy and accusations leveled against the Condon Committee, and described the project as a "$500,000 trick." (Clark, 601) Condon responded by writing to Look, declaring that Fuller’s article contained unspecified "falsehoods and misrepresentations". (Jacobs, 231)

The press had earlier occasionally mention of the Committee’s troubles, but Fuller’s article brought a much higher level of attention, especially from scientific and technical journals, many of which began discussing the Committee in their editorial and letters pages. Industrial Research reprinted the Trick Memo, while Scientific Research interviewed Saunders and Levine, who reported that that they were considering a libel suit against Condon for terminating them for alleged "incompetence"; they furthermore said that Condon had used an "unscientific approach" in directing the Committee. (Jacobs, 231) Condon said that calling his methods "unscientific" was itself libelous, and in turn threatened to sue Saunders and Levine.

When the American Association for the Advancement of Science covered the ongoing Committee controversy in an issue of its official journal Science, Condon first promised to grant an interview apparently in the hopes of offering his side of the conflict. Shortly thereafter, however, Science editor Daniel S. Greenberg reported that Condon announced it would be "inappropriate for Science to touch the matter, withdrew his offer of cooperation, and proceeded to enunciate high-sounding principles in support of his new-found belief that Science should not touch the subject until after the publication if his report." When Greenberg noted that Condon had promised his help, "Condon flatly refused to discuss the matter further." (Jacobs, 233) When Science ran the article without Condon's contributions, Condon resigned from the AAAS in protest.

The Fuller article even helped inspire Congressional hearings. Representative J. Edward Roush spoke on the House floor, arguing that Fuller’s article brought up "grave doubts about as to the scientific profundity and objectivity of the project"; in a Denver Post interview, Roush suggested that the Trick Memo proved that the Air Force had indeed been dictating the Project’s direction and conclusions. (Jacobs, 233)

Even before the Condon Report was released, astronomer Frank Drake wrote to the National Academy of Sciences, suggesting that the Condon Committee's final report was tainted, and should thus be discredited. The General Accounting Office announced that they were considering an investigation of the Committee’s finances.
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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2007, 12:55:35 pm »

The Condon Report

In spite of the ongoing controversy, the Committee’s members largely continued their work. By late 1968, they’d completed their reports and handed them over to Condon, who wrote summaries of each case study and then offered the manuscript to the NAS, then headed by Condon's longtime friend and former student, Frederick Seitz. A panel of 11 NAS members claimed they reviewed the report, and then issued a statement that supported the manuscript’s conclusions. In response to the report's findings, Project Blue Book formally closed down in late 1969.

The Report ran to 1,485 pages in hardcover and 965 pages in the Bantam paperback edition. It divided UFO cases into five categories: old ufo reports (from before the Committee convened), new reports, photographic cases, radar/visual cases, and UFOs reported by astronauts (some UFO cases fell into multiple categories). The entire Condon Report is available online; see External Links section below.

In the second paragraph of his introductory "Conclusions and Recommendations", Condon wrote: "Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby." (Condon, 1)

This was the core of Condon's position of UFOs, and these are his words which received wide attention in the mass media. Many reviews of the book and newspaper editorials supported Condon's position that the UFO question was answered and the case was closed. Hynek suggests that Condon's conclusion was "surely the kiss of death to any further investigation in the name of the quest for knowledge." (Hynek, 193)

Astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock notes that, in general, "critical reviews came from scientists who had actually carried out research in the UFO area, while the laudatory reviews came from scientists who had not carried out such research." (Sturrock, 46) Sturrock also writes that "most of the scientific community paid little attention when the report was published, and none later." (Sturrock, 49)

Furthermore, Sturrock writes that while the Condon report received "almost universal praise from the news media", responses from "scientific journals were mixed." The esteemed journal Nature, printed A Sledgehammer for Nuts, a largely positive review, while Icarus (then edited by Carl Sagan) took an unusual and admirable approach, publishing both an approving review by Dr Hong-Yee ****, and a negative appraisal by Dr James E. McDonald.

To no one’s surprise, however, a number of critics--several of whom had already attacked the Committee--argued that the Report was profoundly flawed, or even unscientific. C.D.B. Bryan writes that the final report "left nearly everyone dissatisfied." (Bryan, 189)

[edit]
Positive Responses
Science and Time were among the many newspapers, magazines and journals which published approving reviews or editorials related to the Condon Report. Some compared any continued belief in UFOs as an unusual phenomenon to those who insisted the earth was flat; others predicted that interest in UFOs would wane and in a few generations be only dimly remembered, like relics of spiritualism such as ectoplasm or table-raising.

The March 8, 1969 issue of Nature offered a generally positive review for the Condon Report, but seemed to suggest that UFO studies were a wasteful, futile indulgence. Approvingly, the editors note that "The salient feature of the report is its almost obsessive attention to detail", but despite this detail, the editors opine that "it is not immediately obvious why the job had to be done at all. Will a single flying saucer buff alter his credo as a result of it? Will the five million Americans who believe they have seen a flying saucer diligently peruse the report to discover for which of many possible reasons they were mistaken? Was it likely that anything of real scientific value could emerge from the report? Or could it be that several members of Congress or the United States Air Force really believe in flying saucers?" In summary, the editors write "The Colorado project is a monumental achievement, but one of perhaps misapplied ingenuity. It would doubtless be inapt to compare it with earlier centuries' attempts to calculate how many angels could balance on the point of a pin; it is more like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, except that the nuts will be quite immune to its impact."

On January 8, 1969, the New York Times headline reported, "U.F.O. Finding: No Visits From Afar." The article (by Walter Sullivan) glowingly declared that due to the report’s finding, the ETH could finally be dismissed and all UFO reports had prosaic explanations. Sullivan noted that the report had its critics, but characterized them as "U.F.O. enthusiasts", a term which would subsequently reappear (often with the same dismissive tone) in later descriptions of UFO researchers. Sullivan’s review of the Condon Report would see widespread attention. (Clark, 602)

Regarding Walter Sullivan’s influential New York Times review of the Condon Report, Clark argues that "Sullivan was hardly an objective journalist but a partisan already engaging in spin control. Critics were charging that the report was damaged goods; the conflicts and controversies that had troubled the project were raising credibility problems that could be addressed only if the critics themselves were discredited. Though his Times article does not mention it, Sullivan had already written the introduction to the Bantam paperback edition." (Clark, 602)

Furthermore, Clark characterizes Sullivan’s introduction as "a revisionist history of the project." (Clark, 602) Condon is portrayed as a tough but fair leader, attacked unjustly by NICAP and "disgruntled UFO believers", meaning Saunders and Levine. Though Keyhoe’s Flying Saucers Are Real had been out of print for over a decade, Sullivan suggested that Keyhoe’s involvement with the Condon Committee was simply a publicity stunt to boost the book’s sales. If it seemed that Condon had focused on the lunatic fringe, wrote Sullivan, it was only because Condon loved to tell a good yarn, and crackpots made for some of the most entertaining tales.
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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2007, 12:56:35 pm »

Negative Responses

Despite the largely positive response to the Condon Report’s conclusions, it has seen a number of critics disputing it in one way or another; some of these are noted below.

Several observers have criticised the report as a sloppy work: Jacobs describes the report as "a rather unorganized compilation of independent articles on disparate subjects, a minority of which dealt with UFOs."(Jacobs, 240) Hynek agrees with this characterisation, he argues that the report is "a voluminous, rambling, poorly organized report ... considerably less than half of which was addressed to the investigation of UFO reports." (Hynek, 192) Hynek also contended that beyond Condon's introduction, "the rest of the lengthy report defies succinct description. It is a loose compilation of partly related subjects, each by a different author." (Hynek, 193) Swords contends that "To those of us who have opened it (the Condon Report), it has a peculiar structure, almost audibly saying, 'don't try to read me'. Paranoia aside, this probably is not deliberate. Reading the primary documents of the project indicates very clearly that the organization's chaos and personnel dislocations that afflicted it made the creation of a smooth document impossible."

In the April 14, 1969 issue of Scientific Research, Robert L. M. Baker, Jr. wrote that rather than settling the issue, the Condon Committee’s report "seems to justify scientific investigation along many general and specialized frontiers." [4]
In the December, 1969 issue of Physics Today, Condon Committee consultant Gerald Rothberg wrote that he had thoroughly investigated about 100 UFO cases; three of four of these had left him puzzled. He thought that this "residue of unexplained reports" indicated a "legitimate scientific controversy." (Clark, 604)
In the November, 1970 issue of Astronautics and Aeronautics, The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics published their review of the Condon Report. The AIAA subcommittee appreciated the difficulty of the undertaking, and generally agreed with Condon's suggestion that little of value had been uncovered by scientific UFO studies, but had some criticism for the Condon Report, stating that the AIAA "did not find a basis in the report for his (Condon's) prediction that nothing of scientific value will come of further studies." [5]
Of the Condon Report’s 56 case studies, 30--whether termed "probable" "possible” or "suspected" hoaxes, misidentifications or the like--are classified as unknown. In a review published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hynek noted that the percentage of unknowns (nearly 50%) in the Condon report was well above the unknowns in Project Sign, Project Grudge and Project Blue Book, the projects which "led to the Condon investigation in the first place." (Clark, 603) Hynek, McDonald and others would argue that some of the solved cases were solved more by strained presumption than detailed dissection of the evidence presented. A few of the unknowns were judged by the Committee’s members to be most perplexing, yet Condon made no mention of these conclusions in his summaries.
Critics often charge that Condon's summaries are inacurate or misleading. For example, Gordon David Thayer was the Committee’s consultant on the 35 radar-visual cases. Thayer concluded that 19 of 35 cases were almost certainly due to "anomalous propagation": so called "radar ghosts" that can be generated by fog, clouds, birds, insect swarms or the like, yet are suggestive on the radar screen of a solid object. Though Thayer offered anomalous propagation as an explanation for just over 50% of the cases he studied, Condon suggested that anomalous propagation was responsible for all the radar cases.
The case studies feature scattered statements which seem to suggest that at least some of the Committee regarded a few of the UFO reports as genuinely anomalous, yet in his summaries, Condon makes no mention of these conclusions. Jacobs argues that these enigmatic reports were "buried" among the confirmed cases. (Jacobs, 241) In his analysis of a 1965 Lakenheath, England radar-visual case, Gordon Thayer wrote,“The apparently rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin as the most probable explanation of this sighting.” Later discussion of this case notes that "The probability of at least one UFO involved appears to be fairly high", yet Condon completely ignores this conclusion. Another instance is Case Number 46, a series of photographs taken in 1950 in McMinnville, Oregon. The original photographic negatives were offered for inspection, and in his conclusion, Committee investigator William K. Hartmann wrote that, "This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated, geometric, psychological, and physical appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses."[6] Condon made no mention of this conclusion.
In the section devoted to UFO reports made by astronauts, Franklin Roach declared that three accounts related by astronauts Frank Borman and James McDivitt aboard Gemini 7 were "a challenge to the analyst" and "puzzling". Roach writes that if NORAD’s list of space object near Gemini was accurate (as he concluded), than the object Borman and McDivitt reported remained unidentified, and "we shall have to find a rational explanation" for the object, "or alternately, keep it on our list of unknowns." (Condon, 208) Again, Condon does not mention this intriguing report in his summary.
In 1969, as part of his lecture "Science in Default", physicist James E. McDonald said, "The Condon Report, released in January, 1968, after about two years of Air Force-supported study is, in my opinion, quite inadequate. The sheer bulk of the Report, and the inclusion of much that can only be viewed as 'scientific padding', cannot conceal from anyone who studies it closely the salient point that it represents an examination of only a tiny fraction of the most puzzling UFO reports of the past two decades, and that its level of scientific argumentation is wholly unsatisfactory. Furthermore, of the roughly 90 cases that it specifically confronts, over 30 are conceded to be unexplained. With so large a fraction of unexplained cases (out of a sample that is by no means limited only to the truly puzzling cases, but includes an objectionably large number of obviously trivial cases), it is far from clear how Dr. Condon felt justified in concluding that the study indicated 'that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.'"[7]
In a 1969 issue of The American Journal of Physics, Thornton Page reviewed the Condon Report and wrote, "Intelligent laymen can (and do) point out the logical flaw in Condon's conclusion based on a statistically small (and selected) sample, Even in this sample a consistent pattern can be recognized; it is ignored by the 'authorities,' who then compound their 'felony' by recommending that no further observational data be collected."[8] Ironically, Page had been a member of the Robertson Panel which suggested UFOs should be debunked to reduce public interest, though his opinions regarding UFOs changed in his later years.
[edit]
Allen Hynek's criticism
In his 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry, astronomer J. Allen Hynek discussed the Condon Report at length in a chapter titled "Science Is Not Always What Scientists Do." He argues that the report is so flawed as to be nearly worthless as a scientific study. In brief, Hynek argued, "The Condon Report settled nothing." (Hynek, 195) He also suggested that people should essentially read the Condon Report backwards: the case studies first, then Condon's summaries.

Hynek described Condon's introduction as "singularly slanted," but also notes that it "avoided mentioning that there was embedded within the bowels of the report a remaining mystery; that the committee had been unable to furnish adequate explanations for more than a quarter of the cases examined." (Hynek, 192)

Hynek argues that "Unimpeachable evidence shows that Condon did not understand the nature and scope of the problem" he was charged with studying. (Hynek, 207)

Like many other critics, Hynek notes that some of the unsolved cases were judged most puzzling. Particularly bothersome to Hynek was the overriding notion that UFOs were tied inexorably to the idea of extraterrestrial life. By focusing on this one hypothesis, the report "did not try to establish whether UFOs really constituted a problem for the scientist, whether physical or social." (Hynek, 194)

Furthermore, Hynek notes that the report relies on so few UFO reports that overarching trends may have been ignored.

Hynek also argues that the Condon Report was not scientific. They chose to hinge on the ETH, but, Hynek insists, the data are simply lacking to analyse that hypothesis and reach an informed conclusion. By not being able to demonstrate that a hypothesis was falsifiable, they violated one of the fundamental rules of the scientific method. The only hypothesis the Committee could have tested, Hynek wrote, was "There exists a phenomenon, described by the content of the UFO reports, which presently is not physically explainable." (Hynek, 201)

[edit]
Peter A. Sturrock's Criticism
Astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock has offered a number of detailed critiques of the Condon Report.

A review of Sturrock's critique notes that "This report has clouded all attempts at legitimate UFO research since its release. Much of the public, including the scientific community and the press, erroneously assumes that this project represents a serious, in-depth look into the issues. Sturrock assiduously dissects the Condon Report and makes it clear that the study is scientifically flawed. In fact, anyone who actually reads the report carefully will be surprised to find that Edward Condon, who personally wrote the Summary and Conclusions, did not investigate any of the cases. Rather it was his staff that did the legwork. That is why the report is internally inconsistent with the body of the document supporting some UFO cases, while the summary does not."[9]

In his own detailed critiques of the Condon Committee, Sturrock writes that "Another important point of scientific methodology is that, if one is evaluating a hypothesis (such as ETH), it is beneficial to regard this hypothesis as one member of a complete and mutually exclusive set of hypotheses. This point seems to have been recognized by Thayer ... but it was apparently ignored by Condon and other members of the project staff. It is of little use to argue that the evidence does not support one hypothesis, unless one known what the surviving hypotheses are." (Sturrock, 40)

Sturrock also criticizes the Condon Committee for heavy reliance on what he calls "'theory dependent' arguments. This requirement, above all, makes the appraisal of the UFO phenomenon very difficult: if we entertain the hypothesis that the phenomenon may be due to an extremely advance civilization, we must face the possibility that many ideas we accept as simple truths may, in a wider and more sophisticated context, not be as simple, and may not even be truths." (Sturrock, 40)

As a specific example of "theory dependent" analysis in the Condon Report, Sturrock notes a case where an allegedly supersonic UFO did not produce a sonic boom. He notes that "we should not assume that a more advanced civilization could not find some way at traveling with supersonic speeds without producing a sonic boom." Furthermore, Sturrock notes that J.P. Petit has “has proposed a procedure involving magnetohydrodynamic processes whereby the shockwave of a supersonic object would be suppressed.” (Sturrock, 40)

[edit]
Sources
"A Sledgehammer for Nuts"; Nature, Volume 221, March 8, 1969; pages 899-900
Jerome Clark; The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial; Visible Ink, 1998; ISBN 1578590299
C.D.B. Bryan; Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Alien Abduction, UFOs and the Conference at M.I.T.; Alfred A. Knopf, 1995; ISBN 0679429751
Edward W. Condon, Director, and Daniel S Gillmor, Editor; Final Report of the Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects; Bantam Books, 1968
David Michael Jacobs; The UFO Controversy In America; Indiana University Press, 1975; ISBN 0253190061
J. Allen Hynek; The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry; 1972; Henry Regenery Company
David R. Saunders and R. Roger Harkins; UFO’s? Yes! Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong; World Publishing, 1969
Peter A. Sturrock; The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence; Warner Books, 1999; ISBN 0446525650
[edit]
External links and Sources
Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, Dr. Edward U. Condon, Scientific Director, Daniel Gilmor, Editor
UFO: An Appraisal of the Problem (from the AIAA)
Robert M. L. Baker Jr., The UFO Report: Condon Study Falls Short
Flying Saucer Fiasco, by John G. Fuller
The Condon UFO Study: A Trick or a Conspiracy? by Philip J. Klass. 1986
Science in Default: Twenty-Two Years of Inadequate UFO Investigations, by James E. McDonald
UFOs And The Condon Report - A Scientist's Critique (James MacDonald Critique of the Condon Report)
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CONDON REPORT (from NICAP)
Dr. Thornton Page's Review of The Condon Report
An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project. Dr. Peter. A. Sturrock
USAF-Sponsored Colorado Project for the Scientific Study of UFOs, by Michael D. Swords, Ph.D.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condon_Committee"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condon_Report
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« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2007, 01:00:01 pm »

Project Blue Book

Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force. It was the second revival of such study, started in 1952, and was active up to January 1970, as it had been ordered for termination in December 1969.

The goal of the Project Blue Book was to determine if UFOs were a potential threat to national security. Thousands of UFO reports were collected, analyzed and filed. As the result of the Condon Report, Project Blue Book was shut down in 1969. This project was the last publicly known UFO research project led by the USAF. [1]

Though many accepted Blue Book's final conclusions that there was nothing extraordinary about UFOs, critics -- then and now -- have charged that Blue Book, especially in its later years, was engaging in dubious research, or even perpetuating a cover up of UFO evidence. Some evidence suggests that not only did some UFO reports bypass Blue Book entirely, but that the U.S. Government continued collecting and studying UFO reports after Blue Book had been discontinued, despite official claims to the contrary.

Previous Projects

Public USAF UFO studies were first initiated under Project Sign at the end of 1947, following many widely-publicized UFO reports (see Kenneth Arnold). Project Sign was initiated specifically at the request of General Nathan Twining, chief of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Wright-Patterson was also to be the home of Project Sign and all subsequent official USAF public investigations.

Sign was officially inconclusive regarding the cause of the sightings. However, according to Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Project Blue Book, Sign's initial intelligence estimate (the so-called Estimate of the Situation) written in the late summer of 1948, concluded that the flying saucers were real craft, were not made by either the Russians or U.S., and were likely extraterrestrial in origin. (See also extraterrestrial hypothesis) This estimate was forwarded to the Pentagon, but subsequently ordered destroyed by Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, USAF Chief of Staff, citing a lack of physical proof. Vandenberg subsequently dismantled Project Sign.

Project Sign was succeeded at the end of 1948 by Project Grudge, which had a debunking mandate. Ruppelt referred to the era of Project Grudge as the "dark ages" of early USAF UFO investigation. As might be expected, Grudge concluded that all UFOs were natural phenomena or other misinterpretations, although it also stated that 23 percent of the reports could not be explained.


Project Blue Book

According to Ruppelt, by the end of 1951, several high-ranking, very influential USAF generals were so dissatisfied with the state of Air Force UFO investigations that they dismantled Project Grudge and replaced it with Project Blue Book in early 1952. One of these men was Gen. Charles P. Cabell. Another important change came when General William Garland joined Cabell's staff; Garland thought the UFO question deserved serious scrutiny because he had witnessed a UFO. (Swords, 103)

By the time Project Blue Book ended in 1969, it had collected 12,618 UFO reports, and concluded that most them were misidentifications of natural phenomena (clouds, stars, et cetera) or conventional aircraft. A few were considered hoaxes. 701 of the reports—about six percent—were classified as unknown. The reports were archived and are available under the Freedom of Information Act, but names and other personal information of all witnesses have been redacted.

The first head of the project was Captain Edward J. Ruppelt. He officially coined the more neutral term "Unidentified Flying Object", to replace the many terms ("flying saucer" "flying disk" and so on) the military had previously used; Ruppelt thought that "unidentified flying object" was a more neutral and accurate term. Ruppelt resigned from the air force some years later, and wrote the book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, which described the study of UFOs by United States Air Force from 1947 to 1955. Swords writes that "Ruppelt would lead the last genuine effort to analyze UFOs". (Swords, 102)

Ruppelt implemented a number of changes: He streamlined the manner in which UFO’s were reported to (and by) military officials, partly in hopes of alleviating the stigma and ridicule associated with UFO witnesses. Ruppelt also ordered the development of a standard questionnaire for UFO witnesses, hoping to uncover data which could be subject to statistical analysis. He commissioned the Battelle Memorial Institute to create the questionnaire and computerize the data. Using case reports and the computerized data, Battelle then did a massive scientific and statistical study of all Air Force UFO cases, completed in 1954 and known as "Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14" (see summary below).

Knowing that factionalism had harmed the progress of Project Sign, Ruppelt did his best to avoid the kinds of open-ended speculation that had led to Sign’s personnel being split among advocates and critics of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. As Michael Hall writes, "Ruppelt not only took the job seriously but expected his staff to do so as well. If anyone under him either became too skeptical or too convinced of one particular theory, they soon found themselves off the project."[2] Ruppelt sought the advice of many scientists and experts, and issued regular press releases (along with classified monthly reports for military intelligence).

During most of Ruppelt's tenure, he and his team were authorized to interview any and all military personnel who witnessed UFOs, and were not required to follow the chain of command. This all but unprecedented authority underlined the seriousness of Blue Book's investigation.

Astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek was the scientific consultant of the project, as he had been with Projects Sign and Grudge. He worked for the project up to its termination and initially created the categorization which has been extended and is known today as Close encounters. He was a pronounced skeptic when he started, but said that his feelings changed to a more wavering skeptism during the research, after encountering a few UFO reports he thought were unexplainable.


Robertson Panel

In July 1952, after a build-up of hundreds of sightings over the previous few months, a series of radar detections coincident with visual sightings were observed near the National Airport in Washington, D.C. These sightings led the Central Intelligence Agency to establish a panel of scientists headed by Dr. H. P. Robertson, a physicist of the California Institute of Technology, which included various physicists, meteorologists, engineers, and one astronomer (Hynek). The Robertson Panel first met on January 14, 1953.

Ruppelt, Hynek, and others presented the best evidence, including movie footage, that had been collected by Blue Book. After spending only 12 hours reviewing 6 years of data, the Robertson Panel concluded that most UFO reports had prosaic explanations, and that all could be explained with further investigation, which they deemed not worth the effort.

In their final report, they stressed that low-grade reports were overloading intelligence channels, with the risk of missing a genuine conventional threat to the U.S. Therefore, they recommended the Air Force de-emphasize the subject of UFOs and embark on a debunking campaign to lessen public interest. They suggested debunkery through the mass media, including The Walt Disney Company, and using psychologists, astronomers, and celebrities to ridicule the phenomenon and put forward prosaic explanations. Furthermore, civilian UFO groups "should be watched because of their potentially great influence on mass thinking. . . The apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind."

It is the belief of many ufologists that the Robertson Panel was recommending controlling public opinion through a program of official propaganda and spying. They also believe these recommendations helped shape Air Force policy regarding UFO study not only immediately afterwards, but also into the present day (there is evidence that the Panel's recommendations was being carried out at least two decades after its conclusions were issued).(Citation needed)

Aftermath of Robertson Panel

In his book (see external links) Ruppelt described the demoralization of the Blue Book staff and the stripping of their investigative duties following the Robertson Panel. As an immediate consequence of the Robertson Panel recommendations, in February 1953, the Air Force issued Regulation 200-2, ordering air base officers to publicly discuss UFO incidents only if they were judged to have been solved, and to classify all the unsolved cases to keep them out of the public eye.

The same month, investigative duties started to be taken on by the newly formed 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron (AISS) of the Air Defense Command. The 4602nd AISS was tasked with investigating only the most important UFO cases with intelligence or national security implications. These were deliberately siphoned away from Blue Book, leaving Blue Book to deal with the more trivial reports.

General Nathan Twining, who got Project Sign started back in 1947, was now Air Force Chief of Staff. In August 1954, he was to further codify the responsibilities of the 4602nd AISS by issuing an updated Air Force Regulation 200-2. In addition, UFOs (called "UFOBs") were defined as "any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object." Investigation of UFOs was stated to be for the purposes of national security and to ascertain "technical aspects." AFR 200-2 again stated that Blue Book could discuss UFO cases with the media only if they were identifiable. If they were unidentified, the media was to be told only that the situation was being analyzed. Blue Book was also ordered to reduce the number of unidentifieds to a minimum.

All this was done secretly. The public face of Blue Book continued to be the official Air Force investigation of UFOs, but the reality was it had been reduced to a sham organization doing very little serious investigation, and had become almost solely a public relations outfit with a debunking mandate. To cite one example, by the end of 1956, the number of cases listed as unsolved had dipped to barely 0.4 percent, from the 20 to 30% it had been only a few years earlier.

Eventually, a frustrated Ruppelt requested reassignment; at his departure in August 1953, his staff had been reduced from more than ten (precise numbers of personnel varied) to just two subordinates and himself. His replacement was a noncommissioned officer. Most who succeeded him as Blue Book director exhibited either apathy or outright hostility to the subject of UFOs, or were hampered by a lack of funding and official support.

Ruppelt's brief tenure at Blue Book is often considered the high-water mark of public Air Force investigations of UFOs, when UFO investigations were treated seriously and had support at high levels. Thereafter, Project Blue Book descended into a new "Dark Ages" from which it never emerged.


Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14

In late December 1951, Ruppelt met with members of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a think tank based in Columbus, Ohio, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Ruppelt wanted their experts to assist them in making the Air Force UFO study more scientific. It was the Battelle Institute that devised the standardized reporting form. Starting in late March 1952, the Institute started analyzing existing sighting reports and encoding about 30 report characteristics onto IBM punch cards for computer analysis.

Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 was their massive statistical analysis of Blue Book cases to date, some 3200 by the time the report was completed in 1954. Even today, it represents the largest such study ever undertaken. Battelle employed four scientific analysts, who sought to divide cases into "knowns," "unknowns," and a third category of "insufficient information." They also broke down knowns and unknowns into four categories of quality, from excellent to poor. E.g., cases deemed excellent might typically involve experienced witnesses such as airline pilots or trained military personnel, multiple witnesses, corroborating evidence such as radar contact or photographs, etc. In order for a case to be deemed a "known," only two analysts had to independently agree on a solution. However, for a case to be called an "unknown," all four analysts had to agree. Thus the criterion for an "unknown" was quite stringent.

In addition, sightings were broken down into six different characteristics--color, number, duration of observation, brightness, shape, and speed--and then these characteristics were compared between knowns and unknowns to see if there was a statistically significant difference.

The main results of the statistical analysis were:

About 69% of the cases were judged known or identified; about 9% fell into insufficient information. About 22% were deemed "unknown," down from the earlier 28% value of the Air Force studies, but still a very large fraction of the cases.
In the known category, 86% of the knowns were aircraft, balloons, or had astronomical explanations. Only 1.5% of all cases were judged to be psychological or "crackpot" cases. A "miscellaneous" category comprised 8% of all cases and included possible hoaxes.
The higher the quality of the case, the more likely it was to be classified unknown. 35% of the excellent cases were deemed unknowns, whereas only 18% of the poorest cases. This was the exact opposite result predicted by skeptics, who usually argued unknowns were poorer quality cases involving unreliable witnesses that could be solved if only better information were available.
In all six studied sighting characteristics, the unknowns were different from the knowns at a highly statistically significant level: in five of the six measures the odds of knowns differing from unknowns by chance was only 1% or less. When all six characteristics were considered together, the probability of a match between knowns and unknowns was less than 1 in a billion.
(More detailed statistics can be found at Identified Flying Objects (IFOs).)

Despite this, the summary section of the Battelle Institute's final report declared it was "highly improbable that any of the reports of unidentified aerial objects... represent observations of technological developments outside the range of present-day knowledge." A number of researchers, including Dr. Bruce Maccabee, who extensively reviewed the data, have noted that the conclusions of the analysts were usually at odds with their own statistical results, displayed in 240 charts, tables, graphs and maps. Some conjecture that the analysts may simply have had trouble accepting their own results or may have written the conclusions to satisfy the new political climate within Blue Book following the Robertson Panel.

When the Air Force finally made Special Report #14 public in October 1955, it was claimed that the report scientifically proved that UFOs did not exist. Critics of this claim note that the report actually proved that the "unknowns" were distinctly different from the "knowns" at a very high statistical significance level. The Air Force also incorrectly claimed that only 3% of the cases studied were unknowns, instead of the actual 22%. They further claimed that the residual 3% would probably disappear if more complete data were available. Critics counter that this ignored the fact that the analysts had already thrown such cases into the category of "insufficient information," whereas both "knowns" and "unknowns" were deemed to have sufficient information to make a determination. Also the "unknowns" tended to represent the higher quality cases, i.e. reports that already had better information and witnesses.

The result of the monumental BMI study were echoed by a 1979 French GEPAN report which stated that about a quarter of over 1,600 closely studied UFO cases defied explanation, stating, in part, "These cases ... pose a real question." (Randles and Houghe, 202) When GEPAN's successor SEPRA closed in 2004, 5800 cases had been analyzed, and the percentage of inexplicable unknowns had dropped to about 14%. The head of SEPRA, Dr. Jean-Jacques Velasco, found the evidence of extraterrestrial origins so convincing in these remaining unknowns, that he wrote a book about it in 2005.[3]

[edit]
Project Blue Book's Official Conclusions
Project Blue Book stated that UFOs sightings were generated as a result of:

A mild form of mass hysteria.
Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity.
Psychopathological persons.
Misidentification of various conventional objects.
As of April 2003, the USAF has publicly indicated that there are no immediate plans to re-establish any official government UFO study programs. [4]

These official conclusions were directly contradicted by the USAF's own commissioned Blue Book Special Report #14. Psychological factors and hoaxes actually constituted less than 10% of all cases and 22% of all sightings, particularly the better cases, remained unsolved.

Project Blue Book was also the inspiration for the 1978-1979 TV show Project UFO, which was supposedly based on Project Blue Book cases. However, the show frequently went against the actual project conclusions, suggesting on many occasions that some sightings were real extraterrestrials.

[edit]
USAF current official statement on UFOs
Below is the United States Air Force's official statement regarding UFOs, as noted in (USAF USAF Fact Sheet 95-03)

From 1947 to 1969, the Air Force investigated Unidentified Flying Objects under Project Blue Book. The project, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, was terminated Dec. 17, 1969. Of a total of 12,618 sightings reported to Project Blue Book, 701 remained "unidentified."
The decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based on an evaluation of a report prepared by the University of Colorado entitled, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects;" a review of the University of Colorado's report by the National Academy of Sciences; previous UFO studies and Air Force experience investigating UFO reports during 1940 to 1969.
As a result of these investigations, studies and experience gained from investigating UFO reports since 1948, the conclusions of Project Blue Book were:
1) No UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security.
2) There has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present day scientific knowledge.
3) There has been no evidence indicating the sightings categorized as "unidentified" are extraterrestrial vehicles.
With the termination of Project Blue Book, the Air Force regulation establishing and controlling the program for investigating and analyzing UFOs was rescinded. Documentation regarding the former Blue Book investigation was permanently transferred to the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Service, and is available for public review and analysis.
Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force. Given the current environment of steadily decreasing defense budgets, it is unlikely the Air Force would become involved in such a costly project in the foreseeable future.
There are a number of universities and professional scientific organizations that have considered UFO phenomena during periodic meetings and seminars. A list of private organizations interested in aerial phenomena may be found in "Encyclopaedia of Associations", published by Gale Research. Interest in and timely review of UFO reports by private groups ensures that sound evidence is not overlooked by the scientific community. Persons wishing to report UFO sightings should be advised to contact local law enforcement agencies.
An Air Force memorandum (released via the Freedom of Information Act) dated October 20, 1969 and signed by Brigadier General C.H. Bolander states that even after Blue Book was dissolved, that "reports of UFOs" would still "continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedure designed for this purpose." Furthermore, wrote Bolander, "Reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security ... are not part of the Blue Book system." (Randles and Houghe, 179) To date, these other investigation channels, agencies or groups are unknown.

Criticism

Blue Book’s explanations were not universally accepted, however, and critics--including some scientists--suggested that Project Blue Book was engaged in questionable research or, worse, perpetrating cover up. This criticism grew especially strong and widespread in the 1960's; UFO researcher Jerome Clark goes so far as to write that Blue Book had "lost all credibility." (Clark, 592)

Take for example, the many mostly nighttime UFO reports from the midwestern and southeastern United States in the summer of 1965: Witnesses in Texas reported "multicolored lights" and large aerial objects shaped like eggs or diamonds. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that Tinker Air Force Base (near Oklahoma City) had tracked up to four UFO’s simultaneously, and that several of them had descended very rapidly: from about 22.000 feet to about 4.000 feet in just a few seconds; an action well beyond the capabilities of conventional aircraft. John Shockley—a meteorologist from Wichita, Kansas reported that, using the state Weather Bureau radar, he tracked a number of odd aerial objects flying at altitudes between about 6.000 and 9.000 feet. These and other reports received wide publicity.

Project Blue Book officially determined the witnesses had mistaken Jupiter or bright stars (such as Rigel or Betelgeuse) for something else.

Blue Book’s explanation was widely criticized as inaccurate. Robert Riser, director of the Oklahoma Science and Art Foundation Planetarium offered a strongly-worded rebuke of Project Blue Book that was widely circulated: “That is as far from the truth as you can get. These stars and planets are on the opposite side of the earth from Oklahoma City at this time of year. The Air Force must have had its star finder upside-down during August."

A newspaper editorial from the Richmond News Leader opined that "Attempts to dismiss the reported sightings under the rationale as exhibited by Project Bluebook (sic) won’t solve the mystery ... and serve only to heighten the suspicion that there’s something out there that the air force doesn't want us to know about," while a Witchita-based UPI reporter noted that "Ordinary radar does not pick up planets and stars."

Another case that Blue Book's critics seized upon began at about 5.00am, near Ravenna, Ohio on April 17, 1966. Police officers Dale Spaur and Wilbur Neff spotted what they described as a disc-shaped, silvery object with a bright light emanating from its underside, at about 1000 feet in altitude. They began following the object (which they reported sometimes descended as low as 500 feet), and police from several other jurisdictions were involved in the pursuit. The chase about an hour later ended near Freedom, Pennsylvania, some 85 miles away.

The UFO chase made national news, and the police submitted detailed reports to Blue Book. Five days later, following brief interviews with a few of the police officers (but none of the other ground witnesses), Blue Book's director, Major Hector Quintanilla, announced their conclusions: The police (one of them an Air Force gunner during the Korean War) had first chased a communications satellite, then the planet Venus.

This conclusion was widely derided, and was strenuously rejected by the police officers. In his dissenting conclusion, Hynek described Blue Book's conclusions as absurd, given that in their reports, several of the police had unknowingly described the moon, Venus and the UFO: they noted that the morning of the chase there was a bright "star" very near the moon. This was Venus. Ohio Congressman William Stanton said that "the air force has suffered a great loss of prestige in this community ... Once people entrusted with the public welfare no longer think the people can handle the truth, then the people, in return, will no longer trust the government."


Hynek's Criticism

Hynek was an associate member of the Robertson Panel, which recommended that UFOs needed debunking. A few years later, however, Hynek's opinions about UFOs changed, and he thought they represented an unsolved mystery deserving scientific scrutiny.

After what he described as a promising beginning with a potential for research, Hynek grew increasingly disenchanted with Blue Book during his tenure with the project, leveling accusations of indifference, incompetence, and of shoddy research on the part of Air Force personnel. Hynek notes that during its existence, critics dubbed Blue Book "The Society for the Explanation of the Uninvestigated" (Hynek, 180).

Blue Book was headed by Ruppelt, then Captain Hardin, Captain Gregory, Major Friend and finally, Major Hector Quintanilla. Hynek had kind words only for Ruppelt and Friend. Of Ruppelt he wrote "In my contacts with him I found him to be honest and seriously puzzled about the whole phenomenon" (Hynek, 175). Of Friend he wrote "Of all the officers I worked with in Blue Book, Colonel Friend earned my respect. Whatever private views he may have held, he was a total and practical realist, and sitting where he could see the scoreboard, he recognized the limitations of his office but conducted himself with dignity and a total lack of the bombast that characterized several of the other Blue Book heads." (Hynek, 187)

He held Quintanilla in especially low regard: "Quintanilla's method was simple: disregard any evidence that was counter to his hypothesis." (Hynek, 103) Hynek wrote that during Air Force Major Hector Quintanilla's tenure as Blue Book’s director, “the flag of the utter nonsense school was flying at its highest on the mast.” Hynek reported that Sergeant David Moody--one of Quintanilla’s subordinates, “epitomized the conviction-before-trial method. Anything that he didn’t understand or didn’t like was immediately put into the psychological category, which meant ‘crackpot’.”

Hynek reported bitter exchanges with Moody when the latter refused to research UFO sightings thoroughly, describing Moody as “the master of the possible: possible balloon, possible aircraft, possible birds, which then became, by his own hand (and I argued with him violently at times) the probable.”


Project Blue Book in fiction

Twin Peaks
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details about Twin Peaks follow.
Project Blue Book featured in a small but important role in the 1990–1991 TV series Twin Peaks, wherein Major Garland Briggs, a military officer involved in the project, is directed to divulge certain information recorded by the project from deep space probes to the protagonist of the series, FBI agent Dale Cooper. There is a strong suggestion in the series that the project was investigating (whether intentionally or accidentally) the otherworldly Black Lodge and White Lodge, and two of its members seemed inexorably drawn towards one of the opposing lodges.


Sources

Jerome Clark, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial, ISBN 1578590299
J. Allen Hynek; The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry; 1972; Henry Regenery Company
Jenny Randles and Peter Houghe; The Complete Book of UFOs: An Investigation into Alien Contact and Encounters; Sterling Publishing Co, Inc, 1994; ISBN 0806981326
Dr. Michael D. Swords; "UFOs, the Military, and the Early Cold War Era", pages 82-121 in "UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge" David M. Jacobs, editor; 2000, University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0700610324

External links

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book
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« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2007, 01:01:16 pm »

News on ‘Project SERPO’ deceptions takes researchers, public on complex paths to truth

by Steve Hammons



This week, new information related to the so-called “Project SERPO” was posted on a Web site involved in this story. The information describes a new angle of deception and disinformation about this alleged U.S. Government project.

Project SERPO refers to claims that a top secret exchange program in the 1960s and ‘70s involved sending an American team of 12 military personnel to another planet, similar to the depictions in parts of the 1977 Steven Spielberg film CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.

The newly released information may provide additional clarification, and confusion, on some of the factors involved in the Project SERPO story that surfaced for the general public in late 2005 and has been presented on the Web site serpo.org.

The new information appears on the Web site lucianarchy.proboards21.com, a discussion forum and research site that has become one of the online platforms for Project SERPO information.

Several months ago, serpo.org coordinator Bill Ryan chose the lucianarchy.proboards21.com site to participate in online discussions about this alleged program. This site is the online home of the Open Minds Research Team.

According to the Open Minds Research Team Web site administrator and a report directly from their confidential sources posted this week, previous information provided to them about Project SERPO was false – at least partially false.

A TANGLED WEB


Watch an alleged government video discussing Project Serpo.
New information given to the Open Minds Research Team from their sources, known has the “TC Group,” was partially related to a method used by government authorities to track leaks, identify leakers and monitor the way such information is disseminated over the Internet, according to the site administrator.

Starting in March 2006, the Open Minds Research Team had reported on their Web site that the TC Group had contacted them. This group allegedly had inside knowledge about the Project SERPO story and been trying to follow up on the authenticity of various aspects it.

The TC Group is reportedly one of several groups involved in investigating and disclosing information on this and related topics.

From what were believed to be reliable sources providing information to the TC Group, the Open Minds Research Team received and posted information from this group that claimed Project SERPO was, in part, a false cover story.

Sources told the TC Group that the Project SERPO story was released within the military and intelligence communities to protect other real information about related activities within those communities.

The source for the TC Group had claimed that the cover story was actually called SERPONIA, not SERPO, and that the alleged visitors’ planet in the Zeta Reticuli star system was referred to in English as “Seinu,” not “Serpo.” Other accounts have claimed the planet was referred to as “Sieu” in English.

These accounts were posted on the Open Minds Research Team Web site as “The Seinu Disclosures.”

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Now, the TC Group has reported to the Open Minds Research Team that this information was, at least in part, false and part of a strategy to plant information, see who leaks it, identify leakers and analyze how the information spreads.

Below is the verbatim report from the TC Group source acting as liaison with the Open Minds Research Team, posted this week on the lucianarchy.proboards21.com site under the category “Seinu disclosure” and subcategory “T.C. Group – The Seinu Disclosures:”

- - -
“I’m saddened to inform you that Serpo, Serponia, Seinu and anything else you want to call it has turned out to be a test of sorts by the dark side.

We were given an audience with a former high-ranking official and for more than two hours he explained the purpose and the feedback it has given this group.

As we had figured out before, the higher your clearance the more truth you were allowed to receive.

Unfortunately, the dark side also had a suspicion, this started during the early ‘60s, that a few people with high clearances were divulging secrets, by word of mouth or acts of treason by screening classified material. To counter it, they would allow ‘employees’ to learn of a false top-secret project or information. Depending on where the ‘employee’ was working, he/she learned of this particular project/information and if a leak occurred, it could be traced back to that group of ‘employees’ only.

They devised a setup that was two-fold in its release.

1 - would show how the material was leaked to the outside and by whom.

2 - once the material was released, track the flow and study where it may lead. It was a bonus to them when these projects hit the Internet and they learned the identities of those viewing the information and for study in the near future tests.

Now, notice I said near future. This is in part due to more of these types of setups that are going on at this time and more to come. There is truth n all this and it will be explained below.

Some members of the Bird group [the so-called Aviary] are involved and were told of these tests. Please note: the rest of these birds are innocent and just as clueless. We don’t know who fits into which category and he would not divulge this information. Damn, he would only smile and it P'd us off.

The reason we asked for a meeting with him was due to us catching an asset trying to pass off a third story, which we knew to be fake. We put 2 and 2 together and realized what was happening, but we wanted to verify this revelation and regrettably it has been proven true.

Now, the good news that you may know by now is that in all this comes some truth, at least in ‘J’s’ case. This was not told to us, but rather he would smile if our question was confirmed and not if it was negative or false. It took us a minute or two to figure out what he was attempting and again this P'd us off regarding the game, but we needed his responses. After about 5 minutes of questions he halted the proceedings, wished us the best and escorted us to the front door. The questions and responses are listed here.”

- - -
A list of the questions and apparent responses from a source for the TC Group is posted on the site. These questions relate directly to the previous “Seinu Disclosures.” The source smiles in response to some questions, reportedly indicating a “yes.”


The Open Minds Research Team site administrator has posted his assessment of events on the site in the “T.C. Group – The Seinu Disclosures” section. Below are some of his comments:

“The latest from TC Group resolving the current "disclosure' regarding Serponia/Seinu as a 'test' of sorts, brings the circle to a close once again. What did come out of this was some confirmation that, again, the core contains some truth, but splashed all over with disinfo-juice!”

“They allude to some of the machinations going on behind the scenes which relate to the disclosure process. And I can confirm that the penultimate communique from the TC Group did contain some extraordinary information regarding recent events… As soon as they give permission to release the full details, you will see it here first. I am bound by their instructions – and given how the 'Seinu disclosures’ developed – by giving them a free platform and compartmented and protected media – we were all able to watch the story unfold free from sabotage and meddling from outside forces.”

“…As long as we 'play by the rules,' we can expect further and more intriguing disclosures as time progresses. You, the reader, contributor, are part of this historic process, and how you react/ respond is up to you. However, please be mindful of the responsibilities which come with any involvement and hopefully we can progress away from suspicion, mistrust, meddling and deception and into a brighter future which should shed light about life through the cosmos, and, hopefully, in peace.”

http://www.ufodigest.com/projectserponews.html
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« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2007, 01:04:01 pm »

UFO research: Findings vs. facts
By Leonard David
SPACE.com


Friday, June 23, 2006; Posted: 3:35 p.m. EDT (19:35 GMT)

(SPACE.com) -- For decades now, eyes and sky have met to witness the buzzing of our world by Unidentified Flying Objects, termed UFOs or simply flying saucers. Extraterrestrials have come a long way to purportedly share the friendly skies with us.

UFOs and alien visitors are part of our culture -- a far-out phenomenon when judged against those "low life" wonders Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.

And after all those years, as the saying goes, UFOs remain a riddle inside a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Why so? For one, the field is fraught with hucksterism. It's also replete with blurry photos and awful video. But then there are also well-intentioned and puzzled witnesses.

Scientifically speaking, are UFOs worth keeping an eye on?

There have been advances in the field of UFO research, said Ted Roe, Executive Director of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP), based in Vallejo, California.

"The capture of optical spectra from mobile, unpredictable luminosities is one of those innovations. More work to be done here but [there are] some good results already."

NARCAP was established in 2000 and is dedicated to the advancement of aviation safety issues as they apply to, what they term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).

Roe said that a decade from now, researchers should have even better instrumentation at their disposal and better data on UAP of several varieties. His forecast is that scientific rigor will prevail, demonstrating that there are "stable, mobile, unusual, poorly documented phenomena with quite unusual properties manifesting within our atmosphere," he told SPACE.com.

Paradigm shifting
NARCAP has made the case that some of these phenomena have unusual electromagnetic properties. Therefore, they could disrupt microprocessors and adversely effect avionic systems, Roe explained, and that for those reasons and others UAP should be considered a hazard to safe aviation.

"It is likely that either conclusion will fly in the face of the general assertion that UAP are not real and that there are no undocumented phenomena in our atmosphere," Roe continued. That should open the door, he said, to the realization that there's no good reason to discard outright the possibility that extraterrestrial visitation has occurred and may be occurring.

"Physics is leading to new and potentially paradigm shifting understandings about the nature of our universe and its physical properties," Roe said. "These understandings may point the way towards an acceptance of the probability of interstellar travel and communication by spacefaring races."

As UFO debunker Robert Sheaffer's Web site proclaims, he's "skeptical to the max." He is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and a well-known writer on the UFO scene.

Being an equal-opportunity debunker, Sheaffer notes that he refutes whatever nonsense, in his judgment, "stands in the greatest need of refuting, no matter from what source it may come, no matter how privileged, esteemed, or sacrosanct ... sacred cows, after all, make the best hamburger."

Sheaffer told SPACE.com, in regards to the cottage industry of UFO promoters, there's a reason there are still so many snake-oil sellers.

"It's because nobody, anywhere, has any actual facts concerning alleged UFOs, just claims. That allows con-men to thrive peddling their yarns," Sheaffer said.

"UFO believers are convinced that the existence of UFOs will be revealed 'any day now'. But it's like Charlie Brown and the football: No matter how many times Lucy pulls the football away or the promised 'disclosure' fails to happen -- they're dead-certain that the next time will be their moment of glory."

Trash from the past
"I would have to say that we're stuck in neutral," said Kevin Randle, a leading expert and writer on UFOs and is known as a dogged researcher of the phenomena. There's no real new research, he said, and that's "because we have to revisit the trash of the past."

Randle points to yesteryear stories, one stretching back in time to a supposed 1897 airship crash in Aurora, Texas, long proven to be a hoax by two con men -- yet continues to surface in UFO circles.

Then there's the celebrated Thomas Mantell saga, a pilot that lost his life chasing a UFO in 1948. There are those that contend he was killed by a blue beam from a UFO, Randle said "even though we have known for years that the UFO was a balloon and he violated regulations by climbing above 14,000 feet without oxygen equipment. I mean, we know this, and yet there are those who believe that Mantell was killed by aliens."

Randle's advice is to the point: "We need to begin to apply rigorous standards of research ... stop accepting what we wish to believe even when the evidence is poor, and begin thinking ahead."

"I've no doubt that UFOs are here to stay," said Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. "I'm just not convinced that alien craft are here to stay ... or for that matter, even here for brief visits.

"First, despite a torrent of sightings for more than a half-century, I can't think of a single, major science museum that has alien artifacts on display," Shostak said. "Contrast this paucity of physical evidence with what the American Indians could have shown you fifty years after Christopher Columbus first violated their sea-space. They could have shown you all sorts of stuff -- including lots of smallpox-infested brethren -- as proof that they were being 'visited,'" he said.

When it comes to extraterrestrial visitors in the 21st century, the evidence is anecdotal, ambiguous, or, in some cases, artifice, Shostak suggested.

Calling it "argument from ignorance", Shostak pointed to the claim that aliens must have careened out of control above the New Mexico desert simply because some classified government documents sport a bunch of blacked-out text. "How does the latter prove the former?"

Sure, the missing verbiage is consistent with a government cover-up of an alien crash landing, Shostak said. "But it's also consistent with an infinitude of other scenarios...not all of them involving sloppy alien pilots," he added.

Shostak said that it is not impossible that we could be visited. It doesn't violate physics to travel between the stars, although that's not easy to do.

"But really, if you're going to claim -- or for that matter, believe -- that extraterrestrials are strafing the cities, or occasionally assaulting the neighbors with an aggression inappropriate for a first date, then I urge you to find evidence that leaves little doubt among the professionally skeptical community known as the world of science."

Why is there precious little to show the world of science that UFOs merit attention?

"Obviously there is not a simple answer, but part of it is reluctance of the scientific community to support such research," explained Bruce Maccabee, regarded as a meticulous researcher and an optical physicist using those talents to study photographs and video of unexplained phenomena.


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http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/06/23/ufo.research/index.html
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Volitzer
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« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2007, 06:19:29 am »

Earth is like a multi-tribal civilization in a solar system full of civilizations.   Too busy with our own petty affairs to grasp the big solar picture.
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Rajesh
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« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2007, 09:57:15 am »

After collapse of the Socialist Block, it seems that peoples have drastically reduced their interest in the aliens.   Roll Eyes

Accordingly aliens too have reduced their visits to the earth.   Sad
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Jennie McGrath
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« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2007, 11:07:55 pm »

Welcome to the forum, Rajesh!

Nah, I just think they're a bit put off by some of the speeches and other behaviors of our Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush!  Once he leaves office, I'm sure that UFO sightings will sky rocket back to 1990s levels once again.
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Volitzer
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« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2007, 12:26:01 am »

There's a lot of anti-Corporatocracy sentiment everywhere  China, Iran and among progressives in America.
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