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  Columnist: William B Stoecker

Image credit: Unknown, Belgium, 1990

Disinformation in Ufology

Posted on Wednesday, 22 April, 2009 | 4 comments
Columnist: William B Stoecker

It has been obvious for a long time that the government knows more about ufos than officials are willing to admit. Furthermore, the government has actually infiltrated at least one ufo organization: NICAP, way back in the fifties. In all probability they have infiltrated other groups as well. So we need to be open to the possibility that we have been fed misinformation, and that certain individuals, and possibly certain organizations and publications are not what they seem. Of course, this is in addition to the confusion caused by free lance hoaxers.

Government involvement in ufo cases goes all the way back to 1947. On June twenty first of that year, a log salvager and part time volunteer for the Harbor Patrol Association, one Harold Dahl, reported that he was operating his boat near Maury Island in Puget Sound, accompanied by his son, his dog, and two crewmen when he saw six doughnut shaped metallic objects flying overhead. One appeared to be in trouble, and dropped some sort of metallic slag, which, Dahl claimed, injured his son and killed his dog. He allegedly recovered some of the slag. He reported this to one Fred Crisman, whom he described as his supervisor. A magazine editor named Ray Palmer sent Kenneth Arnold (who had his famous ufo sighting on June twenty fourth of 1947) to investigate, and then the strangeness level went off the charts. Crisman turned out to be a former member of the OSS and later an agent of its successor, the CIA. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison even suspected him of involvement in the Kennedy assassination, and he does seem to have had some connection with the mysterious Clay Shaw. Arnold told only his wife of his destination and filed no flight plan, but when he arrived in Tacoma, someone had reserved a hotel room for him. Information kept leaking out, indicating that his room might have been bugged. Two Army officers sent to investigate died when their B-25 crashed on their return flight to California. This was probably an accident, but Arnold claimed that someone had tampered with his own plane, and a man who wrote about the sighting, Paul Lance, died mysteriously in August of that year. The slag handed over to investigators, allegedly common foundry slag, may not have been the original debris. The entire incident reeks of secret government involvement; it almost looks as though it had been staged for some strange purpose.

I have written elsewhere of the magical aspects of Roswell. Suffice it to say that something very strange happened between Roswell and Corona, and it was not a weather balloon or a Project Mogul balloon. But the crash probably happened on July fourth, the date chosen by America's founders, many of them Masons, to begin signing the Declaration of Independence. Seven and four add up to eleven, and seven to eleven is the ratio of the height of the Great Pyramid at Giza to any of its base sides. Three times eleven is thirty three, a number sacred to the Masons and the number of vertebrae in the human spine. And the event happened within a degree of the thirty third parallel. Looked at this way, Roswell becomes as ambigous as Maury Island, and the government appears not only to have issued disinformation, but possibly to have been involved in the incident itself.

In 1986 Vickie Ecker and Sherie Stark founded "UFO Magazine" in California. Currently it is published by William Birnes, and his wife Nancy Birnes is Editor in Chief, assisted by Ecker and Stark, and by Ecker's husband Don. I want to stress that there is not the slightest evidence that the magazine is anything other than what it appears to be, nor that the Eckers, Stark, and William and Nancy Birnes are anything other than honorable. Still, there are some strange aspects to all of this. In 1991 Milton William Cooper published his conspiracy book, "Behold a Pale Horse." In it he claimed that "UFO Magazine" was financed by the government as a vehicle for disinformation. He claimed that Vickie Ecker was a former bookkeeper for a prostitution ring, that her uncle was the attorney who persuaded Sirhan Sirhan to plead guilty, thereby avoiding a trial that might have brought out the truth about the Robert Kennedy assassination, and that Don Ecker lied about his career as a police officer. Keep in mind that Vickie Ecker is not responsible for her uncle, and there is no evidence to support the rest of Cooper's claims. But why did the Eckers not sue Cooper or his publisher, or at least force the publisher to delete the accusations?

And, back in late 1992 or early 1993 I had my own bizarre encounter with the Eckers. I have written elsewhere of my repeated close encounters with former members of the USAF ufo retrieval team. I wrote a letter to the editor of "UFO Magazine" summarizing my experiences and even including a copy of my military discharge as evidence of the truth of some of my claims. Not only did the Eckers not publish my letter; they called me on the phone and interrogated me at great length. They said that their reason for not publishing the letter was my failure to provide proof. But since when do letters to the editor require proof? And remember, I had furnished some proof. If they really were agents of disinformation, this is exactly how they would behave. But, again, there could be other, more benign explanations, and I must point out that the magazine has published many excellent articles by respected researchers.

William Birnes was also co-author with Lt. Col. Philip Corso of the book, "The Day After Roswell." Corso, who was in the Army from 2/23/42 to 3/1/63, claimed that an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell, and that he, under the supervision of Lt. General Arthur Trudeau, recovered components from the craft and sent them to various researchers who used them to back engineer such technologies as fiber optics, kevlar, lasers, and microchips. Noted researchers Kevin Randle and Stanton Friedman are openly skeptical of Corso's claims, and with good reason. First of all, lasers, fiber optics, and semi conductors are all based solidly on years of research in the field of quantum mechanics. And we have all seen over the years evidence that anyone who makes public secrets the elites really want to keep tends to die mysteriously, usually due to a suspicious "suicide." But Corso, well advanced in years, lived for quite some time after the book came out, and apparently died of natural causes.

Then there is the curious case of Robert Scott Lazar, who claimed that in 1988 and 1989 he worked as a physicist at a place he said was called S-4, or Sector Four, at Groom Lake, Nevada, near Area Fifty One. He told George Knapp, a reporter at Las Vegas television station KLAS, that he worked on back engineering propulsion systems of alien spacecraft recovered by the government, allegedly piloted by "grays" from the Zeta Reticuli system. He showed Knapp a W-2 from the "Department of Naval Intelligence." The first problem is that it is actually called the Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI. Then there is the fact that Lazar, many years later, has yet to commit suicide or have an accident. And he described numerous largely intact craft. How could so many crash and still be intact? And Stanton Friedman, a solid researcher (so is Knapp, but any of us can be fooled) has discovered that Lazar, who claims to have degrees in physics from Cal Tech and MIT, appears nowhere on their alumni rolls or in their yearbooks, and is unable to remember the names of any of his teachers. His only education beyond high school appears to have been some electronics courses at Pierce Junior College, and Friedman has verified that Lazar was at Pierce during the time he claimed to have been at MIT. Lazar also claims to have worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory, but Friedman has verified that he actually worked there as an employee of a private contractor, Kirk Meyer. To put it mildly, there are too many inconsistencies, rendering Lazar's story totally non credible. Note the similarity between his claims and those made by Corso.

And then there is the curious saga of Majestic Twelve. In 1984 a roll of film was mailed to ufo researcher Jaime Shandera, containing apparent government documents detailing the creation in 1947 by President Truman of a ufo study and oversight group headed by a council of twelve men. All of the people named were in fact scientific, military, and intelligence personnel, and were exactly the people who might reasonably be expected to head such an effort. And, given the government's known interest in ufos, and its obsession with secrecy, it is quite likely that something like MJ-12 did, in fact, exist. But then the problems begin. Shandera at the time was working closely with another ufo researcher, William Moore. Meanwhile, yet another researcher, Paul Bennewitz, allegedly photographed ufos near the Sandia nuclear site in Albuquerque. An Air Force OSI (Office of Special Investigations) agent, Richard Doty, then (and he later admitted it) began feeding Bennewitz disinformation that eventually so stressed and frightened him that Bennewitz had a nervous breakdown. William Moore later stated that he collaborated with Doty in this, in the hopes of gaining his trust and being able to get some real information...a pretty lame story. Even lamer is Doty's claim that he belonged to a group within the military called the "Aviary," who were trying to make ufo secrets known to the public. If so, why did he feed disinformation to Bennewitz? And how did he (and Corso, and Lazar) avoid the fate of those who talk too much? And the roll of film received by Shandera was mailed from Albuquerque...where Doty was stationed at the time.

A Timothy S. Cooper claimed that in the nineties packages of MJ-12 documents appeared in his locked Post Office box with no stamps. Robert Hastings, a very solid researcher, has pointed out the virtual impossibility of this. Cooper gave the documents to Robert and Ryan Wood. I have twice been Ryan Wood's camera man on a local tv show, and personally do not like him, but I am, neverthelss, convinced of his honesty and his competence. He and his father had the documents examined by a Forensic Documents Examiner, who stated that they appeared genuine. Then Moore and Shandera stated that in 1985 they found another MJ-12 document in the National Archives, but it lacked a normal archives catalogue number, which means that it was almost certainly planted there by someone. To add to the complexity and confusion of this whole affair, MJ-12 documents allege that Truman and Eisenhower were briefed by MJ-12 members, and it is a fact that both men were briefed by the officials named in the documents on or about the dates indicated, and General Nathan Twining had written a secret memo the day before one of the briefings, stating that he believed that ufos were real. A prominent Canadian researcher named Wilbert Smith claimed to know for a fact that Vannevar Bush, an alleged MJ-12 member, did in fact head ufo research for the US Government's Research and Development Board.

Debates among ufologists rage to this day, involving esoteric points like the way dates were written on government documents at various periods. It is easy to see why competent researchers like Stanton Friedman and Robert and Ryan Wood believe that the documents are probably genuine, and equally honorable and capable men like Robert Hastings are more skeptical. It is likely that what we are seeing here is a mixture of truth and disinformation calculated to breed suspicion and dissension (not to mention utter confusion) among researchers. All of the issues mentioned above seem to constitute a pattern, and the only lesson we can safely draw from it all is to take everything with a grain of salt.

William B Stoecker

Article Copyright© William B Stoecker - reproduced with permission.

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