Sunday, September 16, 2007

More On Frank Kaufmann

In the last few hours I have received a number of emails asking if I thought that Frank Kaufmann might have been an agent of disinformation. That implies that Kaufmann had some real role in the cover-up, though he might not have been the insider that he claimed to be. The short answer is, "No."

Kaufmann was an opportunist whose name was provided by Walter Haut. I wish that I had the opportunity to question Walter about this, but like so much else in the case, when I learned the truth, it was too late to ask the questions.
Following is some of the documentation that Frank offered as his proof. And there is short commentary about why one document or another is faked.


Frank offered a couple of letters showing intelligence assignments, one signed by Robert J. Thomas, who Kaufmann claimed variously was a warrant officer, a major and a brigadier general, and while it is not impossible for one man to hold those ranks at various points in a military career, according to Kaufmann, he held them all at once.

The second letter is signed by Lester M. Garrigues and is dated 25 July 1947. To Kaufmann’s surprise, Garrigues was still alive and provided the Center for UFO Studies with this analysis:

As I had mentioned to your before, I was transferred from Roswell with my last duty day being June 2, 1947, and was then on leave and enroute to China where I was assigned as Personnel Advisor to the Chinese Air Force beginning July 11, 1947.

In other words, Garrigues wasn’t even in the United States on 25 July. To prove his point, he provided documents showing that he had left Roswell and wasn’t writing any letters about the crash or the people.


Next is the Easley letter. I suspect the signature is authentic, meaning, simply that it was lifted from one letter and applied to the next. A little white-out and a Xerox machine make it look real. The problem, as pointed out by other researchers is that some of the office symbols used here, while authentic, were of offices that did not exist in 1947, proving this document a fake.


And finally are the two separation documents. One showing that Frank’s military career was in personnel and that he was a clerk, never rising above staff sergeant (second document) and the other showing his intelligence training and his rank as a master sergeant. It is clear, based on research and other documents that the claim of intelligence training, intelligence assignments and the rank of master sergeant (first document) is not true.
















What we have is a clever man with two typewriters from 1947, a supply of paper from 1947, documents with real signature on them and a little knowledge of how these things work. But there is nothing in the Frank Kaufmann stories that is helpful to us, he was not an agent of disinformation and the faster we forget about him, the better we all are going to be.
The Frank Kaufmann episode does raise one important question. If we are to believe the latest Walter Haut affidavit, and if Walter was the insider that he claimed to be in that affidavit, then how come he pointed us to Kaufmann, and why didn’t he know that Kaufmann was making it all up?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The New Debunkers: Sparks and Greenwood Rehash Klass

(Blogger's Note: Although I believe there is little value in continuing research into the Majestic-12 papers, I know there are many honest investigators who believe otherwise. Two the the most vocal, hardworking, and careful of those people are Robert M. and Ryan S. Wood. After the Brad Sparks, Barry Greenwood paper at the most recent MUFON Symposium, the Woods created a rebuttal. I asked them for permission to post their article in the interest of fairness. The following is their view of the MJ-12 situation as it stands today.)

The New Debunkers

Dr. Robert M. Wood &
Ryan S. Wood

In this years' MUFON symposium proceedings Brad Sparks and Barry Greenwood claim to show new "proof" that the Majestic 12 documents are a hoax. Through a tangle of theories worthy of the late debunker Philip Klass - they claim that the MJ-12 documents stem from isolated hoaxers at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) who defrauded even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Ignoring critical evidence in the MJ-12 documents and claiming vast knowledge of the intelligence world, Sparks and Greenwood scoff that the MJ-12 documents do not deserve further study.

By contrast, the Majestic Documents Research Team, led by Dr. Robert M. Wood and Ryan S. Wood, believes that serious researchers deserve more than tabloid conspiracy theories and urge those who are informed on the extent of Majestic research to read the new MUFON paper to judge for themselves if it is based on relevant and reliable new evidence with sound reasoning. Below we touch on key issues. We remain confident that many of the MJ-12 documents show evidence of authenticity and that Sparks and Greenwood do indeed describe an early hoax, though not the one they claim. Since their paper's publication, we learn that Mr. Greenwood has disputed Mr. Sparks's version, and so has another claimed co-author Ms. Mary Castner who has challenged Sparks's version.

Sparks and Greenwood claim to be reporting the results of "a research project to review and investigate the secret Pratt tapes and files." None of the secret tapes or files are shared word-for-word, so the reader has no way to assess independently the credibility of this new source of information at the paper's MUFON release. Sparks and Greenwood claim that these tapes and files, when added together with other well-known material, make it clear that a few individuals in the Air Force have been responsible for faking several classic documents relating to MJ-12, the alleged government project to study UFOs in sophisticated detail.

Although most of the Sparks, Greenwood (and Castner?) focus is on the so-called Aquarius documents and the related Eisenhower Briefing Document (EBD), the inference and statement is that all MJ-12 documents are fake, noting that the authors Wood and Wood "apparently have never met an MJ-12 document they did not like" and were "overly accepting." Actually, we have long thought that the Aquarius document was indeed a hoax just as stated.

Furthermore, we have possession of individual pages of original, old paper documents stamped MAJIC with the proper age of red ink. Such facts have been totally ignored by the paper, which largely focuses on the deceptions going on for potential fakery in the late 1970s and 1980s.

The fundamental story told by the MJ-12 documents is this: unconventional craft have maneuvered over the United States, causing enormous concern to our nation's security agencies, and some craft have faltered to earth where highly secret, and sometimes illegal, operations have recovered extraordinary technology and non-human creatures. All means were authorized to hide and discredit these phenomena. If you do not believe such events are possible, then you will reject the MJ-12 documents, and you will interpret other information through this same lens of denial. Conversely, if you suspect such events may have happened, you would expect to see some leaked documents like MJ-12 from whistleblowers.

Indeed, Sparks has a often billed himself as "the original Roswell skeptic" and disparages the increasing wealth of eye witness testimony. (More recently, Sparks says he has "reluctantly" concluded something unusual may have happened but will not state what. Sparks and Greenwood have long debunked MJ-12 and label those who believe the documents deserve serious research as either gullible or dishonest. Years before their alleged "new" evidence, they denounced anyone corroborating phenomena that the Majestic papers describe in compelling detail. Sparks dubbed the late Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso as "a fraud in the most embarrassing way [who] just cannot resist putting himself at the center stage of great events of history."

While describing UFO debunker Phil Klass as "my friend and colleague," Sparks dismisses Edward J. Ruppelt, respected former director of Projects Grudge and Blue Book and author of the book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, as demonstrating "a pattern of deceit" detrimental to UFO research. Mr. Sparks appears to be the only person to have come to this conclusion. UFO researcher Jerome Clark writes, "Most observers of Blue Book agree that the Ruppelt years comprised the project's golden age, when investigations were most capably directed and conducted. Ruppelt himself was open-minded about UFO's, and his investigators were not known, as Grudge's were, for force-fitting explanations on cases."

CLAIMED AUTHORITY

MUFON readers deserve to know Sparks's and Greenwood's predisposition, since their paper rests squarely on the authors' mindset, extensive speculations and theories. While Sparks and Greenwood may not judge Corso worthy of "center stage" (although Corso served at far higher levels than they) - the paper begins with page after page of Sparks's claims, such as interviewing "some 100 CIA Directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, and various intelligence officials of the CIA, NSA, DIA, Air Force and Naval Intelligence and other agencies"; uncovering "the watershed event in all of government history in UFO studies"; and explaining the Kenneth Arnold sightings as "a spectacular meteor fireball that escaped back into space instead of the classic 'discs' which launched the modern UFO era in 1947."

According to his lengthy credits: "Brad also discovered that the CIA had concluded at that point that UFO's were extraterrestrial (until the AF deception), and this was confirmed by the CIA director and deputy director of its Office of Scientific Intelligence." He presents no evidence. Sparks writes: "He [Brad himself] is presently reconstructing the full history of U.S. Intelligence Community involvement with UFO's." (We wonder how he knows, unless he is a member of the Senior Intelligence Service, with clearances equal to the Director of National Intelligence, with a need-to-know and a large staff. Is it possible that his claimed conversations with some secret-keepers has, just possibly, left a few things out? Or that FOIA requests barely scrape the surface?)

Yet with the exception of compiling lists of Blue Book cases, Sparks has scarcely published, and we look forward to seeing evidence of his work that purportedly offers the definitive version of "all of government history in UFO studies" and a "full history of U.S. Intelligence Community involvement with UFO's." Sparks and Greenwood (who more modestly states he has been "a financial and electronic distribution clerk for the U.S. Postal Service since 1970") say they co-founded Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS), but this means little in recent decades since their admitted falling out with attorney Peter Gersten, its director, "in the early 80's" -- nearly twenty years ago.

While introducing many other tangents and theories, they claim to focus on tabloid-style revelations that the late Mr. Robert Pratt, retired reporter for the "National Enquirer," made notes and telephone recordings of his conversations with Mr. William L. Moore and former Air Force Technical Sergeant Richard C. Doty. Apparently, MUFON secreted Pratt's recordings in files marked "PRATT SENSITIVE," and we wonder about their legality (Sparks's paper describes them as "secret" recordings), despite reported insistence by Pratt's widow that the telephone recordings were not illegal. (Moore and/or Doty can confirm whether or not they knew their conversations were being tape recorded over the telephone.)

Yet MUFON readers and serious researchers will recognize Moore and Doty, the Pratt sources, as two of the most notorious sources in Ufology. Moore, we recall, informed a stunned MUFON conference that he had collaborated with security officials to deceive them. Doty has fed story after dubious story to several researchers.

It is on this alleged loom and from this thread that Sparks and Greenwood weave a tapestry of accusations from which they conclude MJ-12, in Greenwood's words, is like Hitler's "Big Lie." Greenwood reassures us, however, that "it is not necessarily true that all conspiratorial behavior by government representatives should be viewed as part of official policy." And Sparks reassures us that "one cannot in general infer the existence of a supersecret merely from such efforts as AFOSI's [Air Force Office of Special Investigations] to protect the AF's turf against UFOlogist challengers." Instead, they claim, MJ-12 is the invention of a small coven of turf-conscious Air Force officials all by themselves in New Mexico, hating ufology and feuding with the NSC, CIA, Army and Navy.

We are not so readily assured. Greenwood, it is reported, believes this was done for profit. Sparks says it was done in a kind of anti-ufology 'hatred.' We are not convinced to cease our investigations based on Sparks's assurance not to "infer a "supersecret," but just to see it as a scuffle among a few 'lone gunman' Air Force folks in New Mexico against, among others, the purportedly gullible Central Intelligence Agency and the purportedly innocuous, Presidential-level National Security Council.

SOURCES AND METHODS

We want to state clearly that the Majestic Documents Research Team cannot yet give a direct account of the Pratt papers. All we have had till recently are Sparks's and Greenwood's (and Castner's?) interpretations. MUFON released Pratt's materials specifically to the two and did not give any hint to us of their contents and impending, dramatic release. Sparks and Greenwood (and Castner?) had the time they wanted in secret to construct their nearly 70-page, circular paper. We were offered the opportunity to respond initially on two weeks' notice without access to the alleged evidence. Because we brought this clearly to MUFON's attention, MUFON has now agreed to make at least some Pratt material available online, and we hope the entirety of what they hold in private.

We expect to give an update on the Pratt papers in the October MUFON journal. It may prove that the Pratt papers are a separate matter from the MUFON conference paper (hereinafter referred to as Sparks's paper, given that Greenwood and Castner have, perhaps for different reasons, disavowed Sparks). But there are points already clear about Sparks's paper itself.

Sparks's paper elevates Pratt. He writes: "Pratt had written extensively about UFO's as a reporter for the 'National Enquirer,' during a serious phase of the 'Enquirer's' history when it exercised responsible journalism." MUFON readers may want to get a strong cup of coffee as they consider this case. Linda Moulton Howe has written about evidence that the "National Enquirer" was established from the outset as a front for CIA disinformation. In his book The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up, journalist Terry Hansen writes:

The newspaper's historical ties to powerful organizations such as the OSS, the CIA, the Pentagon, the White House, and the Mafia, raise troubling questions about its true agenda. To the uninitiated, though, the Enquirer seems hardly worth taking seriously. With its blaring, often absurd headlines and near-ubiquitous location alongside grocery store checkout stands across the nation, the Enquirer has become both a cliché and the butt of jokes among those who consider themselves sophisticated media consumers. There's much more to the National Enquirer than meets the eye, however. To see why, we need to review the Enquirer's fascinating origins, with particular emphasis on its ties to the U.S. intelligence establishment.
Even if we accept that Pratt remained blissfully innocent of the phony newspaper from which he retired, Pratt is not a fount of perfect recollection. Hansen reports that he questioned Pratt's involvement in an Enquirer story tending to discredit reports that UFO's appeared over ICBM missile bases. Hansen writes:

"Is there any reason to believe this story was purposely leaked to the Enquirer?" I asked Pratt. "None whatsoever," he replied. Following my initial series of questions, Pratt did further research on the matter and was now less confident in his first response. "By coincidence, just a few hours after sending you the answers to your first set of questions, I came across some documents relating to the 1975 over-flights," he wrote. "And there is a possibility that you may be right that someone did tip off the Enquirer with the intention of discrediting the information. [In respect to his contacts with UFO sources, again his memory wanders] This whole thing surprises me because I have no recollection of receiving such a phone call, nor do I remember working with Brad Sparks [the other researcher mentioned in his notes] on these incidents," Pratt added.

So we learn that Sparks has not approached the "PRATT SENSITIVE" files from a disinterested perspective. He had a history with Pratt, and we should know more about it. We are told further that Pratt secretly recorded telephone conversations concerning Moore and Doty leaking research by UFO researcher and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman. It is on the basis of Pratt, Moore and Doty - that Sparks's contentious paper alleges its proof.

REAL HOAX

From page to page of conspiracy theories qualified by "supposedly" - "assume/assumes /assumed" - "seem/seemed/seems/seemingly" (Acrobat software gives an easy word count of all these instances) there are then juxtaposed absolute assurances such as: "Moreover there is no known precedent in AFOSI history or U.S. intelligence history or world intelligence history of an active duty intelligence officer forging documents for sale or for profit." MUFON readers will decide for themselves whether Sparks and Greenwood can know any such thing.

But MUFON readers will not have to decide whether the paper presents new arguments, since the evidence is crystal clear that it does not. Perhaps to sad surprise, the paper is a rehash and gloss on a report published by Philip Klass himself in the "The Skeptics UFO Newsletter" (SUN) #44, March 1997 - ten years before the Sparks's paper presented at the recent MUFON conference. (The Klass article is available after some digging online at http://www.csicop.org/klassfiles/SUN-44.html. If it disappears from the Internet, we will be glad to provide a full copy.) Greenwood and Castner will have to say whether they knew the paper rehashes Klass, but at the outset of his original article, Klass compliments Sparks himself by name:

On April 16, 1983--less than two years before William L. Moore and Jaime Shandera claim they received the "Top Secret/Eyes Only" MJ-12 documents from an unknown source--Moore reportedly sought the reaction of his friend Brad Sparks, a respected UFO researcher, to the idea of creating such counterfeit government documents. Sparks strongly recommended against it. Later, when Sparks called Stanton T. Friedman, he was shocked to discover that Friedman defended Moore's idea. Moore explained to Sparks that his and Friedman's efforts to locate persons who had been involved in (alleged) crashed-saucer recovery operations in New Mexico, and subsequent related events, had run into a dead end. During the April 16, 1983, meeting in Berkeley, Calif., Moore suggested that counterfeit government documents containing crashed-saucer information could be used to induce former military personnel to speak out and ignore their secrecy oaths. Sparks urged Moore not to resort to bogus documents, pointing out that if they contained any factual errors, this would identify the documents as counterfeit to those privy to the true facts. This, Sparks warned, could ruin Moore's reputation. SUN first learned of Sparks' involvement in mid-1991 but he was reluctant to speak out.

We wonder, honestly, how Klass knew Sparks's thoughts. Nevertheless, from there, Klass's article covers the arguments that the current Sparks paper presents as new, although now they are presented with the patina of allegedly new evidence from Pratt's possibly covert telephone recordings. It is interesting that Klass even cites how "extremely painstaking analysis by UFO-researcher Robert G. Todd has revealed one of the cleverest counterfeit Roswell-related documents ever discovered". Sparks likewise cites Todd seven times in the recent paper. We invite MUFON readers and serious researchers to observe the multiple parallels between the Klass article and the current paper. They could not be more plain.

The hoax, we think, might be to argue that Sparks's paper represents anything significant or new - except perhaps the "wilderness of mirrors" in which some UFO researchers (Sparks and Moore), prominent debunkers (Klass), tabloid reporters (Pratt) and government agents (Doty) have conducted decades of hidden discussions - more than most of us realize

EVIDENCE

We keep going back to seeking the evidence. That is the task of the Majestic Documents Research Team. Again, Sparks (and Greenwood or Castner?) state that "the overly accepting Woods have apparently never met an MJ-12 document they did not like." Interestingly, the precursor Klass article brings up the so-called Aquarius briefing, as does Sparks in his rehash. In point of fact, as noted above, Dr. Bob Wood has stated that he does not believe the Aquarius document is authentic. We recognize that the Majestic documents may be tainted with some that "poison the barrel." We do not know the actual motives if this is the case, though we do know clearly that this is a well established disinformation technique. Pratt himself quotes estimates that it would take only a minimal effort by security agencies to co-opt and compromise "ufology" organizations. The same is true of seeking to discredit valid leaked documents.

We are ready to believe or disbelieve based on the truth indicated by open evidence and sound reasoning. Our team's website (a) discusses explicit issues of authentication; (b) assigns ratings based on explicit factors, which differentiates documents; and (c) candidly discusses psychological warfare and disinformation. Ryan Wood of our team was the first to report in the highly praised book MAJIC EYES ONLY that the source known as "Cantwheel" admitted some of the documents he conveyed were "obvious fakes" re-typed from originals so that the recipient would not be vulnerable under espionage laws. Wood writes candidly that this must "raise questions about apparent delivery of some documents in facsimile, designed to avoid legal consequences. We must research this further, and it does raise serious questions."

We do not have space in this article to provide exhaustive discussion of our research over the past decade into the Majestic documents. We have published steadily in print and online - as has Stanton Friedman and others - and we will continue the professional discussion this November at the fifth annual "UFO Crash-Retrieval Conference" in Las Vegas, NV. Nevertheless, let us offer a few final comments here.

The Sparks paper makes repeated disparaging statements about Mr. Timothy Cooper. We do know from an official citation that Cooper's father was commended for work on the Air Force UFO program, which could explain why Tim Cooper might be trusted as a recipient of a number of the MJ-12 transmittals. In a detailed presentation to the Society for Scientific Exploration in 2004, Dr. Wood documented that 103 documents totaling 3,766 pages had emerged from multiple sources, not only through Cooper as sometimes alleged. He noted that expert forensic analysis had not supported allegations that Cooper had typed the documents. Cooper - who has never sought publicity nor money for the documents, some of which he himself doubted - voluntarily took a lie detector test concerning the documents and did poorly only on questions relating to revealing source names he had sworn to protect.

What we do know is that we have found extensive corroboration of the documents' content from known and accepted sources, as well as detailed and before-unknown correspondence of MJ-12 documents to others accepted as authentic. Not all documents present the same level of assurance, although some are convincing. Furthermore, among the documents are some that we have in original paper and ink. Expert forensic testing finds that the paper and ink fit their claimed historical timeframe. Elsewhere we have discussed openly and in detail the reasons we believe this body of documents - whose volume, variety and detail are staggering - deserve serious, intensive study.

Even then, in theory, they could be faked with the extensive funds, underlying research, and exhaustive man-hours of a determined and expert intelligence apparatus. But we have not yet by any means come to this conclusion. Some could be faked to "muddy the waters" and discredit authentic leaks. While Sparks's paper (Greenwood may agree or possibly Castner?) theorizes that the MJ-12 documents (all 3,766 pages in exacting, varied detail) were faked by a few Air Force miscreants in New Mexico and deceived the naVve CIA itself, we know from excellent work by one of our team members that some documents were mailed to Cooper with postage from a meter that was traced to CIA Headquarters. At root, the MJ-12 papers describe elusive, UFO phenomena that thousands of people have observed worldwide and that have not, we believe, all been faked by the United States Air Force. Nor, we believe, have all these documents.

DISINFORMATION

One area in which we must agree with Sparks, Greenwood (and Castner?) is this: some entities have acted aggressively to deceive and subvert UFO research in the public realm. No doubt, given the infamous and clumsy Doty affair, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations has played a part. But we find no evidence to support Sparks's and Greenwood's conclusion that the MJ-12 documents come from a few 'lone-gunman' hoaxers at Kirtland AFB. A longtime expert consultant to the authors gave us permission to quote him directly (though he frankly avoids professional association with "ufology"):

Having served in matters with the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Intelligence Community, I can say that the paper's conclusion has no bearing on how government works. The welter of supposition that leads to claiming a mid-level enlisted man fronting for a few security officers in a single OSI district in New Mexico discounts ample evidence that DCI Smith and the Psychological Strategy Board were involved deeply with this subject well beyond the Air Force. That a local AFOSI office would feel free to fake NSC documents is akin to the counter help at McDonalds feeling free to write and publish a false corporate annual report and expect it to fly on Wall Street. The very last thing such a group could do is to fake other agencies' documents without incurring extraordinary bureaucratic and political penalties. The gratuitous argument about the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU), thrown in with the kitchen sink, runs counter to publicly admitted facts and has nothing to do with the Pratt materials. The author has a penchant for claiming inside knowledge that he refuses to reveal or substantiate.

While the recent MUFON paper stands principally on its claims to privileged access not only to Pratt's notes and "secret" telephone recordings but also to a vast trove of alleged "insider" information from military, intelligence and other government sources, it is reasonable to ask whether and how Sparks and his cohorts could know what they claim. What has been their involvement, and by what expertise can they tell us how the Executive Office of the President (the institutional home for the National Security Council) actually functions with regard to UFOs? And how has their interpretation of alleged "inside" knowledge been influenced by pre-existing relationships between Sparks, Moore, Doty, Pratt and Klass? There are connections and disconnections that require considerably greater explanation.

These honest questions reflect a general problem in studying UFOs and related institutions and commentators. The Majestic 12 documents report perhaps the most intensive effort ever imagined to hide UFO phenomena in order to preserve power and privilege (some legitimate, some not). Can we doubt that such efforts would include classic ploys to discredit leaks, denigrate open research, and confuse and fracture public and professional interest?

During the years in which the "PRATT SENSITIVE" files were withheld even from dues-paying MUFON members and expert advisors, we must conclude that the public ufology organizations have been as jealous of their own files as the intelligence agencies have been of theirs! (Some have argued that ufology organizations are convenient instruments for security agencies to keep tabs on public awareness of specific sightings and of leaks, though we hope not to go so far!). In the midst of secrecy, uncertain intentions and misty credentials, some ufology data have certainly sparked sensationalism here and there -- bred more heat than light -- but ultimately been lost or buried as factions fall prey, despite the best efforts of honorable persons, to incapacity, manipulation and finally irrelevance.

CONCLUSION

After careful study of MUFON's paper, we are not dissuaded from further Majestic document research. In fact, we believe that the importance of these documents remains clear. The Majestic 12 documents are either the fire, or they are the smoke from the fire. Just as we endorse those who honestly and capably seek physical evidence and while we admire the pioneers who have explored psycho-spiritual implications of UFOs -- we must also face that the revolutionary possibility of visitation by non-human sentience must have surely engaged our political, military, intelligence and other social institutions at a deep level. The Majestic 12 documents -- including those that may have been faked for purposes important to discover - can illuminate these issues.

New views, even controversial, can be valuable, so we do not object to honest debate. Yet we believe this latest paper from Sparks, MUFON and perhaps others (we need to know, for example, what Greenwood and Castner have to say for themselves) raises keen questions about the standards of evidence, caliber of reasoning and processes of professional discourse affecting UFO studies -- versus the standards in professional disciplines where many of us have worked at responsible levels for decades. We will discuss this further at the fifth annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference in Las Vegas this November .

This paper leads us to consider that there are important systemic issues determining whether "ufology" proves to have enduring value, or is bypassed in years to come by far stronger institutions in the mainstream. That is, whether "ufology" advances to the mainstream in line with the standards of scholarly integrity, due process and credentialing that typify the best of modern science in a free society. The challenge is clear for public ufology organizations: They must do what they have long sought from government. They must open their files for full, free and open research. Make their data sets fully available. That way, we will lessen the instances of unproductive grandstanding; selective release of "secret" files for the claims of a few; and embarrassing spats that have long discredited the UFO field.

Finally, we want to be clear. The Majestic Documents Research Team does not question the great majority of military and intelligence professionals who honorably defend our Nation. There are secrets that should be kept, and laws with institutional checks and balances that govern how this is done. On this too - the collective of Sparks, Greenwood, Pratt, Moore, Doty and Klass do not enlighten us.

How Did Frank Kaufmann Slip Through?

Let’s talk about Frank Kaufmann. He told a marvelous story of being one of the insiders who knew everything about the Roswell UFO crash, retrieval and cover up. He talked from the first moment I interviewed him in 1990. He was cagey at the time, hinted that he knew quite a bit about the case, but was somewhat reluctant to talk about it.

First question... how did I learn about Frank Kaufmann? Walter Haut told me that someone I would want to talk to was Frank. Walter hinted that Frank had some inside knowledge that would be helpful. I called Frank not long after Walter had given me his name.

Frank told me (and several others) that he had been at the base in July 1947. He hinted then that he had been part of the military, but the truth was, he was assigned there in a civilian capacity. Frank said that when the war ended, he was not going to be released from the service because he was in a critical job. They decided that he could do it as a civilian and draw less attention to himself, so he was released from active duty in 1946.

Frank provided a copy of his separation paper showing that he had been a master sergeant and that he had some very specialized intelligence training. The document looked to be authentic and in one sense was (seen above is the doctored version of Frank's separation papers).

Frank’s picture appears in the Yearbook that Walter Haut put together in 1947. Frank is receiving a medal from Payne Jennings. Studying the picture carefully (seen here), I believe the medal to be a World War II Victory Medal, though I don’t know why there were be a presentation for it. Everyone who served in the military during WWII received it.

Those in Roswell I asked about Frank, including Walter Haut told me that he was honest and that, according to Walter, "Anything Frank tells you is golden."

Each time we began to waver, each time we began to suggest that we were getting nowhere, Frank would come up with another bit of documentation. He provided notes, on authentic paper from the era (that is post WW II) that suggested they were old. Don Schmitt told me, based on his experience as an artist (yeah, I listened to that), that he thought the drawings were quite old (they would have been around fifty years old at the time) which suggested that Frank had made them in 1947.

The paper was the kind used by the military during the war, and included the little "Buy War Bonds," logo.

He gave me a copy of a page from the log book that documented the time of the crash, according to what Frank said. We talked to William Woody, a young man in Roswell in 1947, who told us of seeing the craft in the sky and Frank’s notes seemed to confirm what Woody said. Since the two didn’t know one another, there was no collusion between them.

Later he would give me a letter signed by Edwin Easley, that said, "For the purpose of analysis and evaluation, the craft recovered is being assumed to be manned craft of unknown origin and may in fact represent an interplanetary craft of some kind."

Yeah, this would be a smoking gun document, but it seems that a couple of the office symbols used didn’t exist in 1947. To Frank’s credit, he did spell marshal correctly, as in provost marshal.

He provided a document dated 25 Sep 47 that begin in part, "In accordance with (which we would now write as IAW) directive from the Directorate of Intelligence, Air Intelligence Division... the following military/civilian personnel will adhere to the duties and responsibilities as outlined in AIRD Manual E723."

Frank's name tops the list, as do the names of other members of "the nine" that Frank had identified.

This letter also said, "It is recommended that... be initiated whenever possible to include:

Official denial
Discredit/discourage witnesses..."

And was signed by Robert J. Thomas, Major, Air Corps.

He gave me a document dated 25 July 47 that said, "In accordance with directive from headquarters Strategic Air Command... the following military/military civilian personnel are relieved from duty assignment on Project AIRD 723, as it pertains to recovery 'Flying Disc...'
And Frank's name is at the top of the list.

So, we had Walter Haut giving us Frank Kaufmann, we had some of the people in Roswell vouching for him as an honest man. We had some documentation that did prove some of what Frank was telling us... and quite frankly, as Karl Pflock pointed out, we had the will to believe.

There wasn’t really much evidence to show that Frank was lying at the time some decided that he was. If you accepted the Mogul myth, as Karl did, then you knew that Frank was lying, but if you thought the crash might have been extraterrestrial, then Frank could be telling the truth. He would give us pictures and shows us documents and hint that other things would be given to us when the time was right.

There were little confirmations. Frank said the craft fell late on the evening of July 4, and that worked out so that Woody and his dad went out looking for it on the weekend rather than on a Tuesday night and that seemed more logical.

He said that he had met Werner von Braum and when we questioned that, he produced a "Congressional Recognition" which was an official document showing that von Braun had been in Roswell to help dedicate the museum about Robert Goodard. So, Frank, who was the Executive Vice President of the Roswell Chamber of Commerce was there. One paragraph said, "Frank Kaufmann... has, through the years, made a notable contribution. National leaders such as Dr. von Braun..."

So, it wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. Frank had been at the same event as von Braun. I mean we have all had a chance to talk to celebrities in strange circumstances. Who would have thought that I would meet David Letterman in Baghdad? (Letterman and me in Baghdad.)

Frank’s stories all unraveled right after he died in 2001. Dr. Mark Rodeghier of the Center for UFO Studies, with Mark Chesney and Don Schmitt were in Roswell and were asked by Kaufmann’s widow, a very nice lady named Juanita, if they would check his papers to make sure there were no obligations that he had failed to meet prior to his death. While searching those papers, they found the evidence that Frank had forged many of the documents, that he had a supply of the old paper, that he had been nothing more than a staff sergeant (which is not to say that staff sergeants aren’t important, only that he hadn’t been a master sergeant), that he had two old typewriters, and other bits and pieces. It meant that th Kaufmann tales were little more than the inventions of a clever man.

So, to answer the question, how did he slip through? His name had been provided by Walter Haut, he was vouched for by Walter and others (such as Robert Shirkey, an operations officer at Roswell in 1947), and he had some documentation.

For those interested, I had written to St. Louis in an attempt to get Frank’s record and was told, "If the record were (sic) here on July 12, 1973, it would have been in the area that suffered the most damage in the fire on that date and may have been destroyed."

In another attempt, made in 2003, they provided no records other than to write, "This veteran was a member of the Army of the United States from August 5, 1942 to March 27, 1944. He was honorable discharged as a staff sergeant." This isn’t correct. According to Frank’s "real" separation, he was discharged on October 30, 1945. I don’t know why those in St. Louis reported the date as 1944.

Needless to say, had this information been available to me ten years earlier, I could have avoided the embarrassment of believing that Frank Kaufmann had anything of value to contribute to the investigation.

I don’t know how we go about preventing this in today’s world. Yes, we should be more skeptical and yes, we should check out as much as we can. Independent documentation is necessary, and it is good to have someone vouch for the witness. But Frank had the documentation. The verification of his military service simply didn’t work and I don’t know why. The Records Center in St. Louis should have been able to do something more than say the records burned and later providing inaccurate information.

Frank appeared to be who he said he was. He was clearly in Roswell at the right time and he clearly had been assigned to the base. We had documentation, we had others vouching for him. The only thing we could have done is not report his story, but then where would we be.

We’ve all been fooled. Some by Gerald Anderson who seemed to be credible but was not. Glenn Dennis who told a marvelous tale with a missing nurse, only to change the name, and the conditions when it was found there had been no nurse by that name. Jim Ragsdale told of seeing the crash and seemed to have some inside knowledge that, at one time, corroborated part of Frank’s story, but later blew up just as badly.

I suppose all we can do is look at the tales with a skeptical eye, search for verification and report the facts as we learn them. Otherwise we’ll just never get anything done.

I will point out one other sad fact here. As we, meaning Don Schmitt and I were working on this investigation, there were many who wondered where our financing originated. They thought MUFON, the Center or FUFOR was providing it. Both the Center and FUFOR did contribute, but nowhere near the amount we needed. It came from our own pockets and one of the ways to recover some of that money was to publish what we had. Yes, it was premature and preliminary, but it was also necessary so that we could continue. We went with the best we had. Unfortunately, at this point, people were coming out of the woodwork with great stories of the crash. I mean, it was great to begin a lecture by saying, "This story starts like those Science Fiction tales in the movies... a couple in a desert area and something falls from the sky..."

So we published what we had, but then, Karl Pflock published what he had and while he was right about Kaufmann (and for the wrong reasons) he was wrong about others including Brigadier GeneralArthur Exon whom he virtually ignored. We were attempting to increase our cash for more research. The solution would be funding for UFO investigation so that the money doesn’t come out of the pockets of the researcher... or investigators who are rich enough to finance their work. (Frank later in life seen here.)

I really have no solution for this problem of financing. I’ll also note that some aspects of the UFO field are revisited periodically because there are those who believe it with a passion. We have contactees, cattle mutilations (yes, I’ll stir up that hornets nest again) the Allende Letters and so on, all coming back so that we don’t progress. We do the same things over and over and don’t progress at all. We stagnate and never realize it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

FAKERS!

I have noticed that a quick way to build credibility in the UFO field is to put a military rank in front of your name. The higher the rank, the more credibility. The problem here is that some claim a rank they never held, some claim a rank even without military service, and some claim a rank simply because it strokes their egos.

Claims of military service slice across all areas of life. Some of it seems harmless enough, but what about those veterans who actually served? Don’t they deserve the respect they earned, and why should they share it with those who wished they had served but hadn’t?

A couple of years ago I happened to be reading the obituaries in the local newspaper and came across one that mentioned the man had been a Vietnam Veteran. Something wasn’t right about that and I finally realized what it was. The man had been born in May 1957, which meant he would have turned 18 a couple weeks after Saigon had fallen in April, 1975. I knew that men and women signed up for service before they turned 18 and that a person could enter active duty at 17 and a half. But, I also knew that it was policy not to send anyone into combat until he had turned 18. American troop involvement on the ground in Vietnam had ended several years before Saigon fell and that only specially trained troops were there in 1975.

All this is a long-winded way to say that the man wasn’t a Vietnam Veteran because he simply wasn’t old enough. There seemed no reason to expose his claims now. He was dead and the family had enough grief. They didn’t need some stranger telling them that their son and husband had been lying about his Vietnam service.

This man was not alone in inventing his tales of Vietnam and military service. I met a man who claimed to be a Marine sniper who had engaged in "wet work." He said that he had been in both the Air Force and the Marines and he had the discharge papers and other documents to prove it. The problem was that he had never seen a day of active duty in the Air Force other than a six weeks summer training session required of nearly all Air Force ROTC cadets before graduation.

His Marine experience was even thinner. When the Air Force reduced the size of its various components, all Air Force ROTC cadets were given the choice of opting out, taking a commission and spending 90 days on active duty, or waiting for the Air Force to find a pilot slot for them on extended active duty. This fellow opted out and signed up for Marine Officer Candidate School with a promise that he would be offered aviation training upon completion of that school. He decided he didn’t want to do that, so, without a day of service in the Marines, he was given an honorable discharge. He had not been overseas, he had not been trained as a sniper, and he had never been in combat.

Gerald Anderson, he who claimed to have seen the crashed flying saucer on the Plains of San Agustin, appeared on the scene after Unsolved Mysteries ran a segment on the Roswell UFO crash case. Anderson claimed that he had been there in 1947 and to prove that he was a credible witness said that he had been a chief of police and he had been a Navy SEAL engaged in secret missions in Southeast Asia. According to various records, Anderson had been the only police officer in a small Missouri town so his exaggeration that he was the chief of police was unimportant. In fact, it was more of a joke than an actual claim.

The record about his Navy service is less clear. He might have been in the Navy, though no one has confirmed that to this point, but it is clear that he was not a Navy SEAL and had not engaged in secret missions in Vietnam or Southeast Asia. According to the Web site real Navy SEALs established, Anderson had not been a SEAL.

In fact, as we examine the rolls of those who have claimed military service, we find, literally, thousands of fakers. Men who dodged the draft in the 1960s claim Vietnam service. Others were in the military during the war but were not "in country" related tales of horrific combat. One of the pretenders was Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa who claimed to have been a fighter pilot in Vietnam. The truth was that he had ferried aircraft into Saigon’s Ton Son Nhut air field, but he had stayed no more than two or three days each time. He engaged in no combat missions and his official senate biography which claimed such service now suggests he was a "Vietnam Era vet." If nothing else, Harkin did set foot in Vietnam. Some of the fakers weren’t even in the service, let alone in Vietnam but tell detailed stories of their fights against the communists.

This might seem like a modern phenomenon. In today’s world people are struggling for some sort of identity and Vietnam Vet is as good as any other. But, looking back into history, we find that there were always those willing to steal the glory from those who deserved it. Look at any significant event in our history and there are those who have claimed to been involved.

During World War II, D.S. "Sonny" Desvergers, was a Marine who had some of the most unbelievable war experiences ever claimed. According to a document found in the Air Force’s Project Blue Book files, "Once during a birthday party, Desvergers stated that during the war he was a Marine and had been on sea duty on a battleship. He stated that one day he was contacted by an Officer of Naval Intelligence who asked him to go on a secret mission. He was taken to Washington and given a briefing by a group of Colonels then taken to California to go to school with some more Colonels from Washington. He was flown to the Pacific to map Jap[anese] held islands that were unchartered (sic). He stated that he was taken to the island under cover of darkness in a PBY aircraft along with his surveying cryptography equipment and that as they approached the island a life raft was inflated and thrown out the waist window of the PBY. The PBY landed in the dark in unchartered waters next to the raft [which makes no real sense because it would have been safer to land and then inflate the raft] and put Desvergers and his equipment into the raft. With the cover of darkness he paddled up to the beach and buried all his equipment. Desvergers stated that at the beginning of the story the island was 7 x 3 mi. long and at the end, it was 25 x 50. After about two weeks of hiding from the Jap[anese] all day and digging up his equipment and surveying at night, he had mapped the island. In many cases he had brushes with Japanese Officers and once during his two weeks he was lying in some bushes hiding during the day when the Jap[anese] walked by so close to him they could touch him. When the job was finished he had set up a rendezvous with the PBY and it landed at night. However, the Jap[anese] saw the airplane land and knew that he was on the island. He inflated his rubber raft and started paddling toward the aircraft but the Japanese started to fire at him and sunk his life raft, however, in the raft he had a Gibson Girl radio with a balloon for an antenna. He quickly inflated the balloon, crawled on it and flowed out to the PBY. As he was being picked up by the aircraft, people were reaching out of the hatch helping him. During the time the Jap[anese] were shooting at them and several of the sailors who were helping him were badly wounded."

This is the type of story that Hollywood would make into a movie and that is the real problem here. It is exactly the kind of story Hollywood would invent for a movie because it would never happen in real life. First, this smacks of being just another war story. Secret missions are not developed in that fashion and they don't select the soldiers, or in this case a Marine, in such a haphazard fashion. These missions are given to highly trained personnel who have expertise that is critical to the successful completion of the mission. They are not given to PFCs who have no special training or expertise and who seem to be out of touch with reality.

But more importantly is the service record of Desvergers. Here is a man who was in the Marines during the Second World War. It was a time when the expansion of the various services, including the Marines, demanded huge numbers of recruits. The fighting in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific were grinding up men in terrible numbers. Yet, according to the record, Desvergers had been tossed out of the Marines with a less than honorable discharge in 1944. As noted in the Blue Book record, "He had been booted out of the Marines after a few months for being AWOL and stealing an automobile." He apparently went from lone hero to disgraced Marine in a very short time.

This is not the only discrepancy found. He had told many friends at various times that he had been a PFC test pilot in the Marines and had flown every type of naval and Marine fighting aircraft. Of course, prior to the war, the Marines did have "flying sergeants," that is, enlisted men who were pilots. They had no PFC test pilots, however.

Nor was the Civil War immune from its fakers. The last three survivors of the Civil War, on the Confederate side, appear to have been lying about their service. According to many newspapers, and supported by the documentation available, the last authenticated survivor of the Civil War was a Union soldier, Albert Woodson, who died in 1956.

There are, however, Web sites, histories, magazine articles and newspaper reports that give the honor of the last of the Civil War soldier to die to Walter W. Williams of Houston, Texas. Although there were a few who were skeptical, no one bothered to check the record until William Marvel wrote about it in Blue & Gray magazine in 1992. Marvel used old census records, the existing military records from various archives and other sources of documentation. He learned that the Confederacy had little in the way of records about who served, though they had some. Williams’ name appeared in none of those documents, but, according to Marvel, that didn’t mean he hadn’t served in some capacity. The search couldn’t end at that point.

Williams, according to what he told reporters, friends and family later in his life, was born in 1846, but later suggested it had been 1842. That meant he was somewhere between 112 and 117 when he died in 1959. He had, again according to what he said, been a resident of Mississippi when he enlisted in Tennessee in a Texas regiment that was serving in Virginia. Possible, of course, but not likely. He later claimed that he had served with Quantrill’s Raiders in Missouri and Kentucky.

Marvel found Williams on a census record from Hawamba County in 1860 on which he was listed as a five year old boy. That meant he was born, not in 1842 or 1847, but in 1855. Marvel found that in every census he gave a birth date that was consistent with being born in either late 1854 or early 1855. The census of 1910, which carried a column to designate those who had served in the Civil War, contained no such designation for Williams. He would have been, at best, eleven when the war ended.

However, in 1932, Williams applied for a Confederate pension. At that point he began to exaggerate his age. The best evidence available, and it seems to be conclusive, is that Williams, who also went by the name of Walter G. Williams, was not a veteran of the Civil War.

In fact, in the Blue & Gray article, Marvel wrote, "Every one of the last dozen recognized Confederates was bogus. Thomas Riddle was only five when the Confederacy collapsed, and Arnold Murray only nine. William Loudermilk, who insisted he fought through the Atlanta Campaign at 16, did not turn 14 until after Appomattox. William Bush and a reputed Confederate nurse named Sarah Rockwell were not 20 years old in the summer of 1865, but 15."

Marvel pointed out that most of these imposters were in it for the money and that it was "a common scam." They tacked a few extra years on their ages, claimed service in some "obscure militia unit" and then could claim a state pension.

The real problem here is not that these people have claimed to be something they are not, but that they are creating an oral history of events that didn’t happen. In today’s world, with the explosion of Web sites, small press book publishers, hundreds of magazines, and now television documentaries, these faked tales are told time and again and become part of our history. On more than one Web site, including an educational site, John Salling is listed as the last of the Civil War soldiers to die, though the documentation proves otherwise. Why should Salling be given the recognition that belongs to Albert Woolson?

The problem is even worse for the Vietnam War. While claims to have served are not, in a historical context, all that important, it is the oral tradition that these fakers leave behind. The impression, based on these stories is that the American Army, and American soldiers, were out of control in Vietnam, killing anything that moved whether a combatant or not. The tales of these fakers are used to prove that point over and over, and have been used to justify murders in the United States.

B.G. Burkett, who has exposed more fakers than any other researcher or Vietnam Vet, reported that time and again, his information about fakers was met with scorn. Typical of these was the story of Robin Wright, who claimed to be a highly decorated SEAL and who, during his third tour in Vietnam was in an aircraft crash in the Vietnamese jungle between the beach on the South China Sea and the Da Nang airfield.

A rescue helicopter dropped a paramedic and then both Wright and the medic were hauled up. As Wright reached the helicopter, he was hit twice, in the back. For his heroics, either on this mission, or on others, Wright claimed that he had been awarded the Navy Cross, the United States’s second highest medal for valor, a couple of Silver Stars, the third highest, and, at the very least, one Purple Heart.

Articles about Wright were published in Guideposts, a religiously oriented magazine and in Panama City, Florida News-Herald. Larry Bailey, a real SEAL who had retired and was writing freelance articles, suggested that the story told by Wright and published by the magazine and newspaper was filled with technical mistakes that a true SEAL would not have made. Bailey’s research showed that Wright’s military record proved that he had not trained as a SEAL. His records did show that he had served in Vietnam, but earned only the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. He had no Navy Cross, no Silver Stars and no Purple Heart.

Years in the future, as people, for whatever reason, begin to research the Vietnam War, they’ll come across these stories of faked heroism or rampant American atrocities in Vietnam, or thousands of others like them, and assume that they are true. Why should they doubt the magazines or the newspapers? They were only printing what they believed to be the truth. And, of course they’ll be believed because the person relating the tail could put a military rank in front of his, and in a few cases, her name.

Without some sort of balance, the legacy of the faker will overshadow the accomplishments of those who served. Stories of atrocities and murdered women and children make for much more exciting reading than the stories that most Vietnam Veterans can tell. They served their country, sometimes by merely stringing communications wire, or building barracks, or refueling aircraft. They spent their year in Vietnam doing a needed job that was no more exciting than working for the telephone company or building houses or pumping gas. They did all that was asked of them, and the little glory they gained is being stolen by those who inflate their records, or who never set foot in Vietnam or who never served.

And now the war in Iraq, not even concluded is dogged by those who claim participation but have none. One man in a letter to me said that he had been in northern Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion of that country. Another man wrote a series of articles detailing American atrocities that never happened. He hoped to snag a book deal so that he could continue to spin his false tales. He didn’t care that his lies were making it tougher for the soldiers in the field.

As a sad sidebar to this, I wrote an article and sent it to be published in the magazine of one of those veteran’s organizations. They rejected it and I was surprised, until I thought about it. Of course, I was challenging some of their membership and membership is the key to such an organization. They weren’t as worried about the credentials of those belonging as they were worried about maintaining the membership numbers and keeping the dues coming in.

So, how does all this relate to UFOs and the paranormal? Well, how many of those running around in the UFO field are claiming a military background or a military rank actually earned the distinction? Who can demonstrate that background and who cannot? Maybe it’s time, once again, for those claiming a military rank to prove that they truly deserving of that rank. If a man claims to be a colonel, then he should have to prove that he holds that rank in a recognized military organization. If he can’t do that, or dodges the question, then everything else he says must be looked at carefully.

Philip Corso said that he was a colonel but his records clearly show that he never climbed above lieutenant colonel. He said that he thought he had been promoted when he retired, but that didn’t happen. An honest mistake? Possibly. If nothing else, Corso did serve in the military and had climbed to field grade rank.

But others just make it up, append the rank to their names and then insist on calling themselves by that rank. They invent organizations to justify their claims, but never offer any proof that the claims are true.

In this world all too often that somehow gets overlooked. It’s too easy to accept the information as fact, even when it flies in the face of logic. The point here is to merely suggest that we look at this a little more closely. If a man lies about his rank, his educational background, his accomplishments, then how much of his research can we believe.

And that, I guess, is the real point here. A man’s real background may not be all that important to understanding what he says, but his track record is. If he can’t be trusted to tell the truth about that, what can he be trusted to tell us that we wish to know?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

MJ-12 is DEAD

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.