Back a decade or more, I was collecting video-taped testimony from Roswell witnesses for the Fund for UFO Research’s oral history project. I was in California with Stan Friedman and we, quite naturally, began to discuss MJ-12. I had heard from a couple of people that Bill Moore, one of those who released the MJ-12 documents into the public arena in 1987, had been talking about creating a "Roswell" document to try to shake things loose.
Moore, I had heard, thought he had taken the investigation as far as he could without some sort of revelation or dramatic discovery. The plan was to put out a document that would closely mirror the situation in 1947 and force those involved in the cover up to reveal part of it as they attempted to learn who knew what and how much of it they knew.*
Friedman confirmed that it was true. Bill Moore had told him the same thing. But when the MJ-12 documents surfaced, Frriedman thought nothing of that conversation and the fact that the documents had not gone to Moore but to an unknown film producer whose only tie to the UFO community seemed to be Bill Moore.
Barry Greenwood had heard the same thing and reported in his Just Cause newsletter of September 1989, on page 10, "After Moore released the first wave of MJ-12 documents in 1987, CAUS [Citizens Against UFO Secrecy], and particularly Larry Fawcett, spoke to Moore about cooperation in researching the story in the form of filing FOIA requests, etc. as an effort to flesh out information. Moore rejected the offer, adding that he wanted to ‘put bread on my table.’"
In the late 1980s, as I was beginning my research into the Roswell case, Warren Smith (seen here), a writer living in Clinton, Iowa called me and said that he had just learned of MJ-12. I believe he had a copy of the MUFON Journal that had an article about MJ-12. Smith told me that he knew something more about the Del Rio crash of 1950, which was mentioned as part of the Eisenhower Briefing paper dated November 18, 1952 and was the major piece of MJ-12 documentation available at that time.
Smith’s story was that he had been installing and upgrading linotype machines somewhere and one of the men he worked with had a wife who was visiting a "dude" ranch in southern Texas. The man was getting daily letters from his wife. They took a weird slant when she mentioned that the cowboys had seen something strange crash and that the military had come in to recover it.
If this story was true, then it would be a nice piece of corroboration for the Eisenhower Briefing document. Smith said that he could get the letters, but never did. Later I learned that Smith had a habit of inventing things like this (He once tried to interest a friend in creating the Ted Bundy diaries). I couldn’t trust anything he had said and it meant that this corroboration did not exist.
There were other, major problems with all the MJ-12 documents as well. Stan Friedman sent copies to a questioned document expert, Peter Tytell. Tytell analyzed them and concluded they were faked. He pointed to the signature on the Truman Memo which was part of the Eisenhower Briefing and said that it was uncharacteristically low on the page. Truman habitually signed with the top of the "T" on Truman reaching into and touching the text of the letter. That it did not on the memo in and of itself didn’t prove it was faked but it sure suggested it.
The proof was on the "T" on Truman. According to Tytell, there was evidence that the top stroke on the "T" had been altered. That was definitive proof that the memo was a fake.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the signature on the memo matched, exactly, another signature on an authentic document. To Tytell, as well as other experts, this exact match proved the document to be faked.
Tytell also said that the typeface on the documents was from a typewriter that didn’t exist at the time the document was supposedly written. To him it was another proof that these documents were faked.
Yes, I know that Friedman has said that other experts said the typewriter did exist, but he has offered no proof of this and has not identified these experts. Yes, I know that Robert and Ryan Wood have found pictures of Truman using an automatic writer so they suggest the exact match isn’t a disqualification on the Truman Memo, but frankly, they’d need to find a third document to show that Truman used it to sign the memo, and they have not. And yes, I know Friedman (seen here) has little to say about Tytell and demands we produce a signed assessment by Tytell knowing full well that Tytell refuses to do so until someone pays his fee. If I had a couple of grand laying around, I’d do it myself.
To make it worse, if that is possible, we now know that Bill Moore was discussing the dates and data that appear in the first of the MJ-12 documents with Bob Pratt and talking about MJ-12 two years before he, or rather Shandera received the 35 mm film with the Eisenhower briefing on it. Moore, according to the notes now available as an example, said to Pratt:
Well, that was '53... fully 11 months after the Robertson Panel, and there were all sorts of doings and goings on between the CIA and the NSC where the CIA was attempting to - it's not clear which way it was going, whether the NSC was attempting to get the CIA to take over things or whether it was vice versa. I've never been quite clear, on who was trying to influence whom, but if you read that message it is very confusing. And especially when a lot of those documents make reference to attachments which aren't there. So I have just sort of conjectured that the NSC got control of it at the point in time where Truman was ending his administration and Eisenhower was beginning his. If you stop and think about the point in time of the Robertson Panel, it happened just on that transition phase. See, Truman had not run for reelection in '52, in November. Eisenhower wins and takes office in January, January 20, and you've got the Robertson Panel deliberating in there, and it could .well be that somebody was trying to determine how to go on with the change in administrations, which would have presented a problem for that sort of a thing, especially if it had gotten highly developed and the decision had already been made that this has got to be kept locked tighter than a drum. How then to deal with it with an incoming president whose reaction is not certain. And that's a point that nobody's ever brought up that I've heard in discussion. Nobody's ever noticed that that date is a very interesting.
And one of the biggest problems for these documents is that there is no provenance for them. The trail leads to Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera and ends there. No authentic documents mentioning MJ-12 has ever been found. None of the men mentioned left personal papers that contained a reference to MJ-12 and that suggests there are none because lots of people have spent lots of time looking for just that sort of a reference.
The final and probably fatal blow to all this is the paper Brad Sparks delivered at the most recent MUFON conference. In it Brad traces the history of MJ-12, in its first incarnation as a novel to be written by Bill Moore, a Air Force OSI agent named Richard Doty, and former National Enquirer UFO reporter Bob Pratt. Quite a bit of the MJ-12 stuff surfaces in that novel. And yes, I know the excuse will be that they thought a novel was the best way to publish the information about MJ-12. A nonfiction book would have required sources and footnotes and evidence, something they didn’t want to have to produce. And, more importantly, after all these years, have failed to produce.
Using the information from Pratt’s personal notes ( a sample of which was quoted earlier), interviews with various researchers, Sparks, along with Barry Greenwood, conclude that MJ-12 is a hoax. Sparks believes it was a sanctioned disinformation campaign by the AFOSI with Moore and Shandera as the willing participants, or maybe the unwilling dupes. The evidence leads clearly to hoax regardless of the spin put on it or the reason for its creation.
Sparks points out that this report is the most heavily footnoted article to ever appear in The MUFON Symposium Proceedings. It contains facsimiles of many of the documents and it outlines the evidence clearly and concisely. It should drive the final stake through the heart of MJ-12, but nothing in UFO research ever sinks completely. There are always those who will attempt to resurrect it by claiming that was a disinformation campaign that contains some "real" information. All we have to do is figure what is real and what is fake.
But disinformation implies that it was an official operation of some kind and in this case the overseeing agency is AFOSI, at least to Spark’s way of thinking. I’m not sure it was a sanctioned mission and it might have been more of Doty seeing a gravy train and leaping aboard with his buddy Bill Moore than it was any kind of planned AFOSI operation. At this point, it really doesn’t matter because in either case, the conclusion of hoax is the important one. Government disinformation or opportunism by Doty and Moore makes no difference in the end. They both lead to hoax.
You can read the Spark’s paper or download both the paper and the supporting documents here:
For those interested, I have copies of my book Case MJ-12, available, which is a long analysis of some of this history. It would make a nice companion to the Sparks and Greenwood analysis of MJ-12...
For ten bucks, which includes the shipping and handling (and a little bit of a discount on the cover price), I’ll send along a copy. Write to me at:
Kevin D. Randle
PO Box 10934
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410
*I believe the attempt failed because those running the cover up were smart enough to realize that the document had nothing to do with reality and that it contained information that was just flat out wrong. It didn’t conform to the standards of the time and date used by the military, contained misspellings and it contained nothing extraordinary. It did, however, interest the media for a while, but they quickly gave up when they could find no corroboration for the document and that many of the mistakes were noticed. In the end, MJ-12 has damaged th hunt for the truth.