Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Reply to Dr. Kevin Randle's Critique of Exopolitics

In the interest of fairness, and because witness testimony is an important part of UFO research, I invited Dr. Michael Salla to respond to my comments on Exopolitics. Following is the unedited letter that Dr. Salla supplied. KDR
Dr Kevin Randle, has produced a thoughtful critique of my reliance on whistleblower testimonies as a basis for getting to the truth about the UFO cover up and the extraterrestrial hypothesis (see “Exopolitics”, 18 November 2006, http://www.kevinrandle.blogspot.com/ ). Dr Randle (also a Major in the Iowa National Guard) is on the record that the Roswell crash happened and that a political cover up of UFO and extraterrestrial related evidence exists. However, he believes that other than the Roswell case where whistleblower testimonies have been exhaustively vetted, and supporting evidence analyzed, that there is not sufficient credible evidence to support other whistleblower claims of UFO crashes and cover up of extraterrestrial technologies and entities. So Dr Randle cannot be dismissed as unsympathetic to the claims of a Cosmic Watergate and the veracity of whistleblower testimonies, it's just that in his view these need to be independently verified by hard evidence and documentation as the basis for reliable research. So he has consistently attempted to establish a very high evidentiary benchmark where all claims and background details of a whistleblower need to check out in order for the testimony to be accepted as reliable. If it is found, for example, that a whistleblower has embellished a part of their service record or testimony, then their entire testimony concerning UFO crashes, extraterrestrial entities or technologies, becomes unreliable.In his critique where he specifically focuses on my approach to exopolitics research, Dr Randle identifies four whistleblowers that I use as the principal anchors in my research and analyses: Master Sgt Clifford Stone, Command Sgt Major Robert Dean, Lt Col Philip Corso and Bob Lazar. In picking these whistleblowers, all of whom I believe to be credible, Dr Randle wishes to demonstrate the danger of using testimonies that are in his view unreliable and analyzing the political implications of these testimonies in a new discipline called exopolitics. He believes that using unreliable testimonies in this way leads to a highly distorted conceptual framework for understanding the UFO phenomenon and the extraterrestrial hypothesis. He concludes his critique with the following statement: "In other words, isn’t it time for the proponents of exopolitics to properly vet the backgrounds and the tales of the whistleblowers rather than simply defend them? Isn’t time for us to stop embracing every tale we are told that appeals to us simply because it appeals to us? Shouldn’t we instead search to find the truth in a field with the voices of the charlatans seem to drown out the voices of reason."I think Dr Randle is quite correct in his statement that the backgrounds and stories of whistleblowers have to be vetted rather than simply defended. However, this straight forward request takes us into three very difficult process issues when it comes to vetting whistleblower testimonies. First, what threshold standards need to be established in vetting whistleblower testimonies? Second, what investigatory standards should be expected of those vetting whistleblower testimonies? Finally, what national security processes contextualize the vetting of whistleblower testimonies?

As far as the first process question is concerned, Dr Randle advocates as a very detailed and exhaustive study of whistleblower claims, evidence and background to check for consistency and accuracy. If the whistleblower fails to be consistent and accurate, then the testimony is considered unreliable and either dismissed or put into the proverbial gray box. I will describe Dr Randle's method as the “parsimonious vetting approach”. On the other hand, there is a more 'nuanced' or 'whistleblower friendly' approach to vetting whistleblower testimonies where as long as certain threshold criteria are met then whistleblower testimony can be accepted as credible even if a few inconsistencies or inaccuracies are found.

The second process question is more difficult since Dr Randle assumes that this is simply a matter of independent investigators coming in with a parsimonious vetting approach and imposing this on whistleblower testimonies. In contrast, I argue that investigators need to be sensitive to the national security implications of whistleblowers coming forward to make unauthorized disclosures of classified information. This means asking questions that are sufficiently nuanced and sensitive to the possible penalties faced by whistleblowers in revealing classified information. This means that those taking a parsimonious vetting approach may be asking the wrong questions of whistleblowers, and therefore get unsatisfactory answers or an incomplete picture of what is occurring. I have described in a short paper, ten examples of the wrong questions asked by investigators when interviewing whistleblowers disclosing classified information (see: http://www.exopolitics.org/Exo-Comment-30.htm ). Of course, researchers are free to agree or disagree with my list of ten questions to ask/not to ask whistleblowers. The important issue is that there is a difficult process issue involved here since there are severe penalties for disclosing unauthorized information that need to be considered when it comes to the vetting of whistleblowers.

Finally, this takes me to the third and most controversial process issue: the national security processes that contextualize whistleblower testimonies. There is generally agreement among most UFO investigators including Dr Randle that a Cosmic Watergate exists. There is great disagreement, however, over the extent to which this Cosmic Watergate contextualizes the data collection process and the vetting of whistleblower testimonies. Some such as Dr Randle would argue that Cosmic Watergate involves merely the withholding of classified information; and that claims of evidence tampering, destruction and fabrication, are not supported by the evidence. On the other hand, some researchers (including myself) argue that evidence tampering, etc., is an important part of the national security system associated with Cosmic Watergate. I include this on a list of ten ways in which the national security system is designed to prevent unauthorized disclosure of highly classified information concerning the extraterrestrial hypothesis and UFOs (see http://www.exopolitics.org/Exo-Comment-32.htm ).

Each of the three process issues I've identified impact on the vetting standards that should be used for alleged whistleblowers disclosing classified information concerning extraterrestrial technologies or extraterrestrial biological entities. I certainly don't agree with the vetting standard advocated by Dr Randle which in my view is too parsimonious, and fail to adequately take into account the national security implications of whistleblowers disclosing unauthorized information. At the same time, there is a need not to accept whistleblower testimony at face value and so some vetting is required in order to exclude charlatans and frauds as Dr Randle is rightly concerned about. Finding the right vetting standards in my view requires considering all three process questions when it comes to vetting and certainly requires those doing the vetting being sensitized to the national security implications for each whistleblower being investigated. I believe that the vetting standards I have used satisfy the minimum threshold in terms of the whistleblower being extensively interviewed by competent researchers, their military service or corporate service record being corroborated, independent witnesses interviewed, internal consistency of their claims, all circumstantial evidence checked, etc.

I will now briefly respond to the inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the testimonies pointed out by Dr Randle in his critique of the four whistleblowers he cites: Stone, Dean, Corso and Lazar. I think that Dr Randle has pointed to several inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the testimonies of these whistleblowers that in his view exclude the reliability of their testimonies. I have had a debate with Dr Randle on these whistleblowers on previous occasions where we have gone into more details in arguments both for and against their credibility (see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/exopolitics/message/158 )

In the case of Clifford Stone for example, he points to Sgt Stone's 22 year military service record as not supporting Stone's claim of having been covertly trained for elite UFO retrieval teams, and that he only was trained as an administrative typist. Stone claims that his service record never included his covert training and even his regular commanding officers were not made aware of his covert service that he was secretly summoned to do. I consider Stone's claims to be very plausible and in fact reflect what I consider a very logical way of setting up a covert UFO retrieval system within the regular military system where operational security is maintained by restricting access to only those doing the covert service. A system where Stone's regular commanding officer is not in the loop is consistent with numerous testimonies where senior military and political officials are not informed. This is certainly a logical corollary of a Cosmic Watergate so I consider Stone's views plausible; and his sincerity, consistency and commitment to detail in interviews with myself and other investigators leads to my conclusion that he is credible. A number of competent researchers have extensively interviewed Stone and find him to be credible. For more on the other points discussed by Dr Randle and myself, please go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/exopolitics/message/218

In the case of Robert Dean, Dr Randle points to the cavalier way in which Sgt Dean was given the alleged Assessment detailing UFO/extraterrestrial visitations and the threat they posed to NATO. He argues against the plausibility of a such a top secret document being handled in that way, and the subsequent difficulty in proving the existence of such a document by Timothy Good. Nevertheless, it is a matter of the public record that Dean did serve in the Supreme Headquarter of the Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) and served in the Supreme Headquarters Operations Center (SHOC). So Dean served in the apex of the military command system for NATO in Europe and was in a position to view such a document if it existed. Given the extensive data supporting a UFO presence, it is quite logical to assume that NATO did authorize a top secret study of the possible threat posed by UFOs and any visiting extraterrestrials. If such a study was commissioned, then one or more copies would have been in the SHOC as Dean described. Given his distinguished 27 year military service and government employment, there is no reason to believe that Dean would fabricate such a story. He was in the right place and time where such a classified NATO study would have been authorized and analyzed by senior NATO military officers. He would be an example of someone who meets the minimum threshold criteria for whistleblower credibility.

This take me to the case of Col Corso who continues to be dismissed by UFO researchers for allegedly embellishing his service record by claiming to work in the National Security Council as opposed to the less prestigious Operations Coordinating Board that reported to the NSC. Further, he has been criticized for claiming to be the head of the Foreign Technology Desk at Army Research and Development for two years, when his service record states he was only in this position for three months. In Dr Randle's views, these embellishments make Corso's testimony unreliable. I have argued elsewhere that an independent FBI report stated that Corso served in the Operations Coordination Board National Security Council thereby answering critics such as Brad Sparks who claim that the OCB was not part of the NSC prior to 1957 and Corso deliberately embellished his background. As for his military record stating he was head of the Foreign Technology Desk for three months rather than the two years he claimed, there are a number of plausible explanations for this discrepancy such as the slow moving nature of the Army bureaucracy, but no reason to deny that Corso was a trusted aide of Lt General Arthur Trudeau who gave Corso the special assignment he claimed and expedited the process whereby Corso could begin the covert duties assigned to him regardless. The recent testimony by Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Defense Minister, where he claims an anonymous retired USAF General confirmed Corso's claims, suggests that these minor inconsistencies do not in any way impact on the veracity of Corso's central claims concerning the dissemination of ET technology into the civilian sector. Again, I would argue he meets the threshold criteria for whistleblower credibility.

This takes me finally to Bob Lazar who has been vilified by many UFO researchers for his claims to have worked at S4 on the reverse engineering of extraterrestrial vehicles. There are a number of inconsistencies pointed out by researchers such as Stan Friedman concerning Lazar's testimony, but there continues to be strong support for Lazar from credible investigators such as George Knapp. Knapp and his investigatory team have been able to, for example, confirm that the W2 supplied by Lazar was authentic and that he did indeed work at the Meson facility at Los Alamos, and that other Los Alamos personnel were given threats not to discuss Lazar's employment. Most criticism of Lazar rests on the absence of evidence of him completing two masters degrees, yet it is highly unlikely that someone would work at a prestigious facility at such as Meson Particle Facility without having at least completed a Bachelor's degree. It is very likely that, as I and others have argued, his educational and employment records were removed as part of the security procedures in place for him working at S4 and/or for minimizing the impact of his disclosure once he became a whistleblower. In conclusion, each of the four whistleblowers have been extensively investigated and there continues to be strong support for their credibility by a number of competent researchers. If one attempts a vetting process that is based on the three process issues I have described above, I believe that each of the four whistleblowers would pass a satisfactory threshold of credibility to exclude possible charlatans and ensuring whistleblowers with high credibility emerge. As a result of accepting the testimonies of these whistleblowers, considerable headway can be made in understanding the nature of the national security system that has been created to maintain Cosmic Watergate. That is the basis of the exopolitical model I use in doing my own research on the political implications of the extraterrestrial presence.

I consider a parsimonious vetting approach to whistleblower testimonies plays into the hands of those wanting to perpetuate Cosmic Watergate by interfering with the evidence and documentation that is cited by whistleblowers or used to determine their credibility. This often leads to the criticism that whistleblowers who claim that hard evidence and documentation has been removed that would substantiate their claims are making claims that can't be falsified (as in Karl Popper's 'falsifiablitiy thesis) and therefore one moves out of the scientific arena into the arena of faith. In contrast, this criticism can be turned on its head since it is a matter of faith to believe that a purely objective scientific process can be used in a field distorted by national security processes where hard evidence and documentation is removed or altered. This is an important process issue that whistleblower testimonies force researchers to confront, albeit with great reluctance as evidenced by Dr Randle’s critique. I nevertheless thank Dr Randle for providing his critique and giving me an opportunity to reply, and explain the appropriateness of my exopolitical approach to whistleblower testimony.

In peace

Michael Salla

6 comments:

Paul Kimball said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul Kimball said...

Kevin:

Being fair and even-handed is a worthy end in and of itself. In this case, however, by putting your well-reasoned critique side-by-side with Dr. Salla's rambling response, it also serves an even more valuable end - demonstrating the intellectual bankruptcy of his approach to the study of the UFO phenomenon.

Kudos to you.

Paul Kimball

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Sir;

So, presuming the vetting of a core of whistle-blowers at the more respected "center"... then surrounded by additional whistle-blowers which one is required to take on faith... provides me with a reportage of not only how weird things actually ~are~ but how weird they might even ~be~?

The lay observer (the mass of individuals needed and their progressive attention required for an exopolitics to be 'heard'...) is only confused when assuming that the weaker assay of the surface of your effort is the assay of the whole globe... I suspect.

In the matter of a cadre of official whistleblowers... maybe less is more? This is said with all respect to those whistle-blowers who are furiously prosecuted by some as disingenuous or less than genuine, if perhaps ~too~ furiously at that.

That said... a *political* "reaching out" to extraterrestrials most of the outraged admit are there... ...does not seem too far out of bounds, given the stakes and the seeming inevitability of it all. The accelerations in sociological complexity continue unabated, regardless, yet we stand around and continue to fuss (in hubris and anthropomorphism?) about the best approach to an approaching and accelerating train of ~extreme~ novelty?

alienview@adelphia.net
www.AlienView.net
AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/

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shahbaz said...

Your set observer (the mass of folks needed along with their gradual attention required for a great exopolitics being 'heard'... ) should be only puzzled Yacon Capsules as soon as assuming that the sluggish assay on the surface area of this attempt could be the assay on the full entire world... When i suspect.