Thursday, May 02, 2013

Citizen Hearing on Disclosure


The Citizen Hearing on UFO Disclosure being held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. is now half over and I’m astonished at the abuse thrown by those not in attendance and the press seeking out the few who are members of the lunatic fringe. I have heard, repeatedly, about two who showed up wearing headbands with crystals but I never saw them (other than in a newspaper photo), and I have seen references to tinfoil hats which are not in evidence.

On the flip side, I see people smeared by association, called out because their views don’t match those of others, or something their children might have done. What it repeatedly overlooked, is the documentation presented, the credibility of many of the witnesses such as retired Air Force sergeants John Burroughs and Jim Penniston who were at the forefront of the Bentwaters encounter in 1980. Robert Salas, along with retired Air Force captain David Schindele and former captain Bruce Fenstermacher, who provided testimony about intrusions of UFOs over nuclear launch facilities and the momentary disabling of minuteman missiles, to name a few.

I have listened to the testimony of these men, I have known some of them personally for years, and I know the documentation supports the stories they tell. You might quibble about the alien nature of the encounters, but the documentation supports the events. Something happened at Bentwaters in 1980, missiles did mysteriously go off line at Malstrom Air Force Base in 1967, and national security was compromised. Again, you can argue the alien nature, but the events happened and they can be documented through government records.

But the media, or rather many of them, arrive with their preconceived notions, and rather than talk to the witnesses about what they saw, the researchers about what they have learned, the media look for a loon or two and then imply that the majority of those in attendance fit into that category.

Stan Friedman mentioned to me this morning that he had an email from a colleague? friend? acquaintance? Who felt the urge to ask how Stan could call himself a scientist…? nothing like rejecting an idea without looking at the evidence and attacking those who suggest that such evidence exists.

Each of the former senators or congressional representatives have mentioned the negative comments made to them, of the ridicule directed at them, and the bad press they have received. Few seem willing to listen to the testimony of those who have had documented experiences because it is simply too easy to look down their noses at those whose views do not agree with their own.

What I’m saying is that no one is looking at the information being shared by credible people, no one is asking if the health problems of some of the witnesses is not related to their UFO encounters, and no one is asking to see the evidence and the documentation.

No, they’re just more interested in displaying their superiority by making snide comments, tarring everyone with the same brush and ignoring the evidence. Or worse still, printing pictures of those painted green who weren’t at this event. That picture was taken somewhere else at some other time.

True, there are those here whose views I do not share, but if I avoid this venue, then my voice is silenced. If I do appear, then I join those in the tinfoil hats as some sort of kook, at least in the eyes of those offended by the Hearings.

Before you ask, yes, I listened to Steven Greer and found him to be quite entertaining. The audience was with him as he spoke and he is quite charismatic. I watched Sirius, and thought it spent way too much time on alternative sources of energy. I wanted to hear about the little alien, or maybe I should say, unusual little creature found. True, 90% of the DNA matched that of humans, but then some 9% didn’t, which doesn’t prove an alien connection. It is anomalous and interesting enough to engage very credible scientists at some very prestigious universities. That fact somehow gets lost.

In the past I have seen people review books without reading them, make statements about events they know nothing about, and offer opinions that are ill-informed. I wonder why those people do those things. Wouldn’t it be better to listen to the testimony, look at the background and the credentials of the witnesses, and then decide whether the effort was worth it? Why pass judgment before you see the results?

24 comments:

cda said...

You say that "no one is looking at the information being shared by credible people".

Who is to say whether they are "credible people"?

I have not seen the alleged documentation of these credible people but I do know that the cases they present, e.g. Rendlesham, Malmstrom etc have been gone over again and again with a fine-toothed comb and found to be explainable, without any need for ETs.

I assume the reason the media give this sort of thing the brush off is that despite all the hype from people like Greer and Bassett, nothing of significance ever emerges, and we get merely the same old stories repeated ad nauseam. Cover-ups and conspiracies and the like.

Dammit, there were true congressional hearings on UFOs in the late 1960s, weren't there? Where did that lead us?

True, the 6-inch humanoid is new and MAY turn out to be something of interest to science, but the chances are that it will not. I predict that its value will end up close to zero. Is it available for science to study? If so, precisely where is it now? The conundrum (if it is one) should be resolvable. I await its resolution, but am not holding my breath.

KRandle said...

CDA -

As the one running this blog, I am the one to say these are credible people. Burroughs and Penniston are who they say they are and they were at Rendlesham when these events happened. The documentation shows they health declined after the encounter. I'm not saying that it was alien and Penniston, just this morning said the same thing.

Since you have the answer for Malstrom, please share it with Boeing and the Air Force since the documentation suggests that the event was not explained satisfactory. To explain it all without aliens you must reject the testimony of those who were there and reported the objects... oh, wait, testimony doesn't count. Sorry.

The six inch creature is being examined by scientists at Stanford. The top scientists in their field. I predict it will be something of interest to science, but it might just turn out to be something mundane. Still, it is interesting.

David Rudiak said...

It's the same psychological denial mindset as the scientists and clergy of Galileo's day who were afraid to look through his telescope for fear, yes fear, of what they might see.

Fear is at the bottom of all denial and the ridicule that often comes with it. People in general don't want to to look at ideas or evidence that are too upsetting to their personal status quo. Husband cheating on you? Kids doing drugs? You might have a terminal illness? Humans do horrible things like the Holocaust? Climate change that may eventually destroy civilization and cause mass extinction?

They are all horrible to contemplate in their own way. People don't like really bad news that makes them feel powerless. It is usually so much easier to pretend such things aren't happening and deny, deny, deny.

In fact, the idea that we might not be the true masters of our domain and many groups sense of reality might be shattered by the existence of UFOs I've always felt was at the heart of the UFO cover-up. Governments might have some tacit agreement that it is better to maintain the status quo.

Frank Stalter said...

Bassett did a real fine job on this. I thought that going in and following as best I can doesn't dissuade me from that.

Larry said...

David wrote:
"It's the same psychological denial mindset as the scientists and clergy of Galileo's day who were afraid to look through his telescope for fear, yes fear, of what they might see.

Fear is at the bottom of all denial and the ridicule that often comes with it."

Agreed. When people engage in strange behaviors, like refusing to look through the telescope to verify or refute a claim, you can guess that fear is involved and be right about 99.9% of the time.

There is another psychosocial factor at play, however.

Last year about this time, the discussion in the blogosphere concerned psychological research by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, which showed “that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.”

His finding was quite generalizeable. Human experience generates quite a few different fields of knowledge in which individuals can have wildly different levels of competence.

For example, I know virtually nothing about music, in any significant way. I listen to music with people who are gifted in that area and they try to point out all kinds of subtlety and nuance and I just can't hear it. I get it that they are appreciating music on a much higher level of competence than I am, but I am really not competent to have much of an opinion.

If you look at the range of issues that come up in he field of UFOlogy in any given day, month, or year, you can see that it requires competence in a wide ranging field of expertise, to make sense of it. It involves, as a minimum, knowledge about how things fly and don't fly, how people perceive things and don't, atmospheric physics, how classified matters are handled, and not,how questioned documents are verified, or not, and on and on and on.

As a practical matter, hardly anyone is highly competent in all these matters. Especially not media reporters. When confronted with the task of covering something as weird as a UFO disclosure conference, I suspect they have no clue how to even start to process the information. So, rather than admit their ignorance, they fall back to a safe position of skepticism, debunkery, and ridicule.

Anthony Mugan said...

To be fair to those who take a very strongly sceptical line on this subject we do need to recognise the poor quality of much of the dataset we are discussing. These are not laboratory experiments so that is perhaps understandable but it is surprising the number of times cases are reported in seemingly credible secondary sources which, on closer inspection of primary data appear to have at least possible mundane explanations. That said the number of cases which do stand up sufficiently to scrutiny to require mundane explanations that simply discount unacceptably large portions of the available data is too large for comfort.
We also need to recognise that it is probably on balance wise for society to be encouraged not to recognise the likely underlying cause of some of these reports, whatever our own personal curiosity about the subject. There was an interesting paper by Wendt and Duvall a few years ago on the anthropocentric nature of human power structures. We also should be mindful of both culture shock and how 'disclosure' might play amongst groups with radically different world views (even within western society).
The subject lends itself to ridicule by the inevitable openness of the field to all comers - even crackpots and by the difficulty this presents in creating a secure dataset that is commonly accepted. It is probably unfortunately necessary for it to be subject to that level of ridicule and those of use with an interest in the subject that goes above the risk of being subject to that ridicule will just have to plough on and gradually assemble the alternative paradigm

cda said...

DR writes:

"Governments might have some tacit agreement that it is better to maintain the status quo."

Is this not a good example of the 'world-wide conspiracy' thesis advanced by Timothy Good and others, including Greer and possibly Bassett?

A few leading governments (which ones?) are said to know the great UFO truth. But none of them dare reveal it and there is a 'tacit agreement' between them to withhold it from us, the people.

Governments come and go, whole regimes can change, revolutions occur, new world leaders arise and others fall but still this great secret remains. Meanwhile science is ignorant of it and always will be.

Greer and his 'disclosure' gang insist the reason is due to the big multinational corporations having vested interests in their profits (particularly regarding ignoring alternative sources of energy). Others say the cover-up is due to fear of public panic and a likely huge crash in stock markets and capitalism in general.

Hence the status quo. I sometimes wonder why we bother with space research or space travel at all. Why spend trillions on such matters when, if ET intelligence genuinely was discovered, we the public would never be allowed to know about it, and science would be denied this knowledge, seemingly forever?

Comparison with Galileo is hardly fair. Yes, people were afraid to look through his telescope, but today the authorities and the scientific community have examined the UFO evidence pretty thoroughly, either at an official level or an unofficial one, and come to the conclusion that it does not add up to ET activity. It may do so sometime in the distant future, but to claim that there is some dark conspiracy to cover it up is simply a fallback used by people such as Greer who cannot get what they want and who cannot convince the scientific community. Hence they blame the authorities. Rather like Keyhoe, on a lesser scale, in the 1950s.

David Rudiak said...

Beyond personal fear or ignorance of the subject matter, all a reporter has to do to write a respectable news article is to report it straight, in this case, report who the speakers are, their credentials, and what they had to say. But here the reporters can't seem to even mention the name "Edgar Mitchell" (he's just some "astronaut") or that Robert Salas had a position of responsibility where he had his finger on the nuclear button.

Instead, the coverage focuses on the stupid aspects of who is dressed in what costumes in the audience, comments of a few washed-out celebrities who know nothing of the subject matter. This is very deliberate editorializing by the reporters, to put a ridiculous slant on the whole affair.

Basic PROFESSIONAL journalistic ethics would be to focus on the actual facts (the basic who, what, where, and why of any properly written news story). As I was taught in high school journalism class, editorializing is to be left for the editorial pages. Or to paraphrase Hynek, ridicule is not part of the journalistic method.

David Rudiak said...

cda wrote:
Comparison with Galileo is hardly fair. Yes, people were afraid to look through his telescope,

Very fair. It is just common human nature for most people to be "afraid to look through the telescope" at anything that is too upsetting to their personal world view.

In the case of Galileo, he did complain there were Jesuit astronomers who literally refused to look through his telescope, but there were also other Jesuit astronomers with their own telescopes who repeated Galileo's observations and knew them to be true.

But even for those astronomers and other Catholic theologians, they knew the Copernican heliocentric theory was at odds with Church doctrine of Earth being at the center of the Universe.

Copernican theory and Galileo's supporting observations therefore were a challenge to absolute Church authority. If they were wrong about one thing, might they not be wrong about others?

That is why the Brooking's Institution study for NASA in 1960 warned of potential social disintegration or major disruption with the discovery of superior technological ET life, with recommendations for further study, including whether governments should withhold this information from the public.

Similarly, as just referenced by Anthony Mugan, the recent opinion piece/paper by political scientists Wendt and Duvall was entirely about why UFOs are treated as a taboo subject, namely they represent a serious threat to the authority of governmental, religious, and scientific institutions by potentially undermining public support for them.

Wendt and Duvall give the following analogy (just substitute "UFO" for "God"): "Modern systems of rule are able to command exceptional loyalty and resources from their subjects on the shared assumption that the only potential sovereigns are human. Imagine a counterfactual world in which God visibly materialized (as in the Christians’ “Second Coming,” for example): to whom would people give their loyalty, and could states in their present form survive were such a question politically salient? Anything that challenged anthropocentric sovereignty, it seems, would challenge the foundations of modern rule."

David Rudiak said...

cda wrote:
today the authorities and the scientific community have examined the UFO evidence pretty thoroughly, either at an official level or an unofficial one, and come to the conclusion that it does not add up to ET activity.

Nonsense and also historically inaccurate. As Wendt and Duvall state in their abstract, "UFOs have never been systematically investigated by science or the state, because it is assumed to be known that none are extraterrestrial."

Even that isn't entirely accurate, because some of these usually sporadic studies have indeed come to an ET conclusion or have not definitively excluded it, to wit:

1946: Swedish military intelligence study of "ghost rockets"--Real, beyond the technology of any country on earth, therefore ET.

1948: Project Sign Estimate of the Situation--ET

1954: (Still) secret West German study headed by rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth--ET

1977-present, French GEPAN/SEPRA/ GEIPAN study: 13.5% of their cases defy conventional explanation; three heads of the studies have publicly expressed ET explanation for unexplained cases.

1999, high-level French COMETA study: ET for their 5% unexplained plus accusations of the U.S. being engaged in a massive cover-up.

Present Uruguay study: Phenomenon real and will not rule out ET explanation.

Brazilian military study of 1977 Colandra invasion: Data still being released; military officer who headed it, Colonel Hollanda, in 1997 interview said ET and admitted to being abducted in the course of investigation and making contact with the aliens.

Of course, you can also cite the extremely cursory CIA Robertson Panel "study" of only 12 hours in 1953 that came to a negative conclusion. Or the AF Condon study, where Condon made it very clear from the beginning of his antagonism to the subject matter (any scientist who seriously considered the ETH "ought to be publicly horsewhipped and banned from teaching") and misrepresented the actual results of the study (about a third of the cases actually were unsolved). Also some panel members, like David Saunders, who supported the ETH were purged for insubordination after the "trick memo" about pretending to be objective became public. But what does that prove, other than personal agendas and prejudices can force the conclusions the other way?

Anthony Mugan said...

I should add to my earlier comment that I am not suggesting support for the idea of a grand global conspiracy. The logic of the argument stands for the 'organised confusion' (Ruppelt) and 'sober concern' (Hillenkoetter) scenarios just as well. The logic applies almost equally to any nation state independently which may account for the consistency of response, with some detail variation arising from geopolitical considerations such as the differences in the French approach to that of the US and close allies.
Any more concrete information or study groups (Smith /Sarbacher and also hinted at by Rupelt etc) would have to be very restricted, if it exists at all.

David Rudiak said...

Anthony, I basically agree, why I earlier used the term "tacit" in referring to international collusion, i.e., in the mutual interest of all, sort of like information sharing when it comes to international terrorism, not requiring formal legislated guidelines, but more like handshake, backdoor agreements.

Same with large corporations in adjusting prices on products. As I remember, the major U.S. auto corporations got prosecuted for monopolistic price fixing back in the 1950s or 1960s. If GM raised the price on a Chevy by $100, Ford immediately responded raising the price $100 on their Fords, Chrysler $100 on their Plymouths, etc. The auto execs never sat down in one room and conspired to do this. It was more of an eye-winking collusion.

In the case of UFOs, if other national governments, military, and intelligence services fear mass panic and social/economic disruption, it is again in the mutual tacit interest of all to keep a lid on it.

If, e.g., one government came out and admitted a superior alien presence, the first follow-up question would be about abductions and maybe the next alien/human hybrids and whether they have agents walking among us, or even worse scenarios (e.g., they are us from our bleak, inevitable future and free will is an illusion). Let the mass paranoia and social mayhem begin.

Anthony Mugan said...

Hi David
I generally agree with you. This could simply be a case of governments genuinely not having much more information than we have and such questions would be unanswerable, although I accept the possibility of more concrete knowledge if Roswell etc occurred in the manner that seems quite possible.

cda said...

DR & Anthony:

To take a realistic view, cast your minds back to August 1996. Here we had, or thought we had, proof positive of life on Mars, i.e. the famous meteorite ALH84001 (number correct?) discovered in 1984 and thoroughly analysed. The great NASA announcement was that it contained fossils showing life existed on Mars and possibly still did.

No hush-up was there? It all came out in a great frenzy as if the US just HAD to get the news out first. It was too important to hold back.

This is a counter-argument to those who insist the US, and maybe other governments, have some tacit agreement to keep ET reality quiet. Are we really to believe that this ET reality is known about at the highest level (since c. 1947) and kept under wraps, but that some primitive form of life on Mars, after over a decade of research on a meteorite, is suddenly announced with great fanfare to the world?

Think of the enormous prestige, scientific and otherwise, that would be gained by the US announcing ET reality to the world. It is inconceivable that after 2 or 3 years (let alone 65!) they would not have done so. Nor is it conceivable that several nations could have some 'tacit' agreement for keeping it under wraps.

Anthony Mugan said...

Cda
To keep what could be a long and interesting discussion relatively short I would simply point out that bugs on Mars do not represent a potential threat. On the relatively conservative assumption that there well be no great secret being kept from the public regarding UFOs but rather 'organised confusion' any formal acknowledgment of that would be undesirable from a policy perspective, given that threat (intent plus capability) would be unclear and therefore worrying to the general public.
That said I very much doubt if many in government ever have to consider this topic as we seem to be in a more or less stable position where the UFO taboo is so strong little active management is needed

Barry Mead said...

This is quite true of the majority of media,and sceptics. Whatever the field in question, if mainstream isn't the supported view, then expect the screwiest weirdo they can findto be the spokesman the media find for the whole movement. Do we discredit the scientist used in discussing NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-48. When they said that the flash of light seen is the thruster fire? When an equally respected person,said, where is the change in orientation? That was ignored, when calculated speeds, changes of direction never seen in "ice particles" is not adding up, do we say ahha then maybe we have something here. When Astronauts turn round and say "we saw something..so needed to check where, a known object was.." I won't go into the most solid evidences because a sceptic will refuse to believe or will refute ithout checking. If you are querying these, do some actual research. And in light of ever increasing likelihood of habitable planets being not too far away. Is it sensible to continually close our eyes? How about actually devising ways to monitor the skies,monitor reported sightings and validate them,to track speeds of flying objects, and to record them not just let the usaf etc do it. It is possible but close your eyes and that only hinders the truth, eventually it will be undeniable but working with sensible ufo advocates is the logical way to prove/disprove what they are.

Unknown said...

I worked with John Burroughs for many years in Phoenix, AZ. I spoke to him at length about his experience at Rendlesham. He did encounter many health issues that he believed to have been caused by the incident. He then explained that he did have some missing time issues during the incident as well.

Many years ago he told me that a beam of light from one of the lights in the sky landed on a WSA storage bunker, (Nuclear) and that a cargo plane landed shortly after that incident and all of the ordinance was taken out of that bunker by some sort of unidentified military team.

This bothered him for years. I urged him to let the public know about this and he finally told that story on a History Channel UFO special.

It was John that actually wetted my interest in UFO's and I eventually became Maricopa County Section Director for the Phoenix Chapter of MUFON years later.

James Kelly said...

I worked with John Burroughs for many years in Phoenix, AZ. I spoke to him at length about his experience at Rendlesham. He did encounter many health issues that he believed to have been caused by the incident. He then explained that he did have some missing time issues during the incident as well.

Many years ago he told me that a beam of light from one of the lights in the sky landed on a WSA storage bunker, (Nuclear) and that a cargo plane landed shortly after that incident and all of the ordinance was taken out of that bunker by some sort of unidentified military team.

This bothered him for years. I urged him to let the public know about this and he finally told that story on a History Channel UFO special.

It was John that actually wetted my interest in UFO's and I eventually became Maricopa County Section Director for the Phoenix Chapter of MUFON years later.

Dave said...

@David Rudiak Colares, not Colandra invasion.

Dave

Robert Sheaffer said...

Kevin, so you consider Penniston to be a "credible" person? I assume that you know about some of the wild claims he has made, such as receiving a telepathic 'binary' message from the UFO at Rendlesham:
http://www.therendleshamforestincident.com/The_Binary_Codes.html

But he didn't say anything about this for 30 years.

This is an example of somebody you consider "credible?"

Frank Stalter said...

I consider Jim Penniston a lot more credible than parapolitical.com. At least he signs his name to his work.

Robert Sheaffer said...

But Frank, Parapolitical was not making any 'extrordinary claims,' as was Penniston, just reporting what was going on. And reporting what a bunch of whack-jobs some of those ex-Congressmen were.

Frank Stalter said...

Extraordinary claims from someone with Jim Penniston's background merit a closer look. That process is ongoing.

Who runs the parapolitical.com site? It's one thing to write a negative piece and post it online, but at least be adult enough to sign your name to it.

I didn't watch every moment of the CHD, but I saw a few segments that seemed out of place and unfocused. I thought Paul Hellyer was especially off the mark. On the other hand, I thought José Gevaerd provided some information that was news to me and did well.

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