Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Air Force and the McMinnville UFO Photographs

For the last several weeks I have been researching my new book and I stumbled across a bit of information that suggests the Air Force was less than enthusiastic in their investigations of UFOs. I wondered what their conclusion of the McMinnville photographs was. These are the two pictures taken by Paul Trent on May 11, 1950 of a disk-shaped object near his farm in Oregon. I’m not going to debate the merits of the pictures here, merely look at the Air Force response.

According to the Project Blue Book files, they came to no conclusion. In fact, they didn’t bother to investigate the case. Here was a sighting with physical evidence in the form of photographs. Even a cursory look at the pictures tells you that they are either an alien spacecraft or a hoax. There really doesn’t seem to be a third explanation because the pictures are too sharp and crisp to suggest some type of indistinct natural phenomenon or an advanced aircraft of Earthly design. But again, that really is an argument for another day.

These pictures, because of the clarity and because of the foreground detail that allowed analysis, should be of interest to an official investigation attempting to learn all it could about flying saucers. You would think that an organization that was charged with that investigation, would want to, at the very least, look at the pictures. Apparently the Air Force couldn’t be bothered with that because, according to the Blue Book files, this case was “info” only. No investigation, no analysis and no conclusion. If you don’t label the case, then you don’t need to account for it in your statistics and most importantly you can pretend it didn’t happen. There are many UFO sightings that are included in the files that are labeled as “info only.”

But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a solution if asked about it. In 1965, W. Case wrote to the Air Force:

I have recently acquired some information concerning the sighting and taking of two, (2), photographs of one, (1), unidentified object by Mr. and Mrs. [name redacted but obviously Paul Trent] of McMinnville, Oregon.
The Photographs were taken on May 11, 1950 at the [Trent] farm just outside McMinnville, Oregon.
I would appreciat [sic]  it very much if you would obtain and send to the address listed below information and photographs of other and then such incident [sic].
Overlooking the fact that this guy claims to have information, which should have induced a query about what that information might be, the Air Force was uninterested. Yes, I know that it might have been nothing more than rumor or speculation that added nothing to our knowledge, but what if this guy had found another witness, one independent of the Trents? Wouldn’t that be of interest to the Air Force in their search for the truth?

Apparently, the answer would be, “No.” The response was written by Lieutenant Colonel John P. Spaulding, who was the Chief, Civil Branch, Community Relations Division, Office of Information. He explained:

The Air Force has no information on photographs of an unidentified flying object taken by Mr. & Mrs. [redacted but again quite obviously Paul Trent] of McMinnville, Oregon.
In this regard, it should be noted that all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misinterpretation of natural or conventional objects. The object in these photographs have a positive identification.
Overlooking the fact that he said they had no information on the photographs; he offered a solution for them anyway. If they had no information, how would he know that the object, singular, in the McMinnville photographs had been identified? And why wouldn’t he have offered that explanation in his letter? Wouldn’t that have carried more weight than his blanket statement that was in error? The Lubbock Lights photographs taken by Carl Hart, Jr., have not been positively identified, as but a single example of his misstatement.

The point here is that he said he had no information and then offered information. You either don’t know or you do, but you don’t say you don’t know anything and then refute that in your next paragraph. Yes, he could make the blanket statement about all the photographs are misinterpretations but he then specified these particular photographs. He should have left that last sentence off his reply.


Lance said...

Well, I agree with you.

The Air Force was almost completely disinterested in UFO's by 1965. The response is to be expected, even if it is not correct or polite.

The lack of interest by the military, something we have good evidence for, is a clear indication that the proposed vast coverup of UFO (for which there is precisely zero firm evidence) truth is a fantasy.

The few tepid examples of military interest in UFOs after this era that believers continuously trot out further underline the above (most have nothing to do with UFOs but are more about intelligence and counterintelligence).

This kind of "evidence" fits right in with the rest of the heap of dubious stuff that UFO fans point to: mostly worthless.


starman said...

A "lack of interest" is perfectly consistent with a coverup. If they already have the answers (in the form of a craft and bodies) I don't think they'd have much need of photos. And if want to keep it to themselves, they'd try to dampen interest not arouse it.

cda said...

These photos only became important because the Condon Committee (i.e. W.K.Hartmann) endorsed them in its report, saying, in effect, that they were of a genuine UFO.

I wonder why Condon bothered with them at all, if the USAF had previously shown no interest. What spurred Hartmann to examine them and interview the Trents? We cannot say, but after this endorsement, of course, the photos suddenly became important again and caused controversy which lasts to this day, although the consensus is that they are fakes.

Lance said...

@Starman, of course. And intense interest would indicate the same, right? I know how unfalsifiable religious beliefs work.


Don Maor said...

Come on Lance, don't be childish, starman has a point.

Everyone here knows what Blue Book was, and the historical context in which it was created and finally terminated, and how the whole B.B. history is perfectly consistent with the last blog post of Kevin.

You are the one who are interpreting ans twisting the UFO history to fit your personal UFO beliefs. said...

"...In this regard, it should be noted that all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misinterpretation of natural or conventional objects. The object in these photographs have a positive identification...."

I assume the the word 'object' in the second sentence should have been 'objects', so that the sentence refers to the first sentence, and becomes grammatically correct as well.

I must also assume that Spaulding had no reason to know details of the case. He obviously _had_ been briefed on how to handle these requests.

The quoted paragraph reminds me of the 'boiler-plate' canned responses typical in the PR world. It wouldn't surprise me if that response was copied from another, earlier response, involving a single object.

"...a positive identification..." could mean anything. It could mean an ET craft, a hoax, a natural phenomenon, a true unknown.

Saying something, but not really saying anything. Clearly, the AF didn't want to do this dance anymore, but I don't think the intelligence community ever lost interest in the subject.

I gotta go...

KRandle said...

albertguitar -

I have to disagree. The sentence refers to the second paragraph. The discussion is about the McMinnville photographs and there is a single object in them.


These photographs were important long before the Condon Committee came along. They had been published in a national magazine of some stature at the time.

Lance -

The documentation suggests that the Air Force was interested in the topic, but not in the public relations nightmare it had become.

There is evidence of a coverup... Just take a look at the Hippler letter of instructions to Condon, and the fact that even the committee members were denied access to certain files that were considered a matter of "national security," even though Condon said there were no national security concerns.

We also see great interest in the topic in the classified documents, the projects in operation... it seems to me that it was Blue Book who was displaying the uninterest in UFOs, but that there were military organizations very much interested in UFOs. said...


"The object in these photographs have a positive identification...."

It's either "the object...has..." or "...The objects...have..."

What's more likely, omitting an 's', or using the wrong helping verb ('have' vs. 'has')?

Clearly, Spaulding is speaking in general terms: "...all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports...".

That sentence is unnecessary if he was addressing the McMinnville case, and he would have been contradicting the assertion of having " information..."

Finally, if "...all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misinterpretation of natural or conventional objects....", then it follows that those of the McMinnville case would be also. That's the implication.

PR folks aren't constrained be logic like we are. :)

I gotta go...

Lance said...


If the Hippler letter really does somehow indicate the vast conspiracy that you postulate then I suppose we can just go full stop there as that demonstrates the basic illogic of the UFO crowd.

An informal non-bonding letter that expresses (no doubt after wading through the dismal evidence) disenchantment with the saucer idea and a desire to stop spending money on it seems rather weak sauce for as evidence for your Grand Conspiracy. Especially since you have never found a single document that unambiguously supports the actual idea.

To get back to the unfalsifiable nature of saucer belief, if Bluebook was still going with full 1950's level (adjusted) funding and coming in to investigate cases using great resources, that WOULD be a good indication of a UFO reality. But the way that the project petered out slowly should be (to the non saucer zealot) quite striking evidence that, the military saw over the years, as we already know, that UFO evidence is abysmal and leads nowhere...unless you close your eyes and click 3 times.


KRandle said...

Well, Lance -

If Blue Book had been the only investigation, if they had actually tried to investigate, had there not been a decade and a half of attempts to end Blue Book which had degenerated into a poorly run public relations machine, then you might have a point. However, we know that Project Moon Dust had a UFO component, we know what General Bolander said about UFO cases that affected national security not being part of the Blue Book system, and we know that Hynek said the good cases went some where else. So, clearly something was going on and we don't know what it was. None of this proves that UFOs are alien craft, but it does suggest something else was happening. And we now know that these investigations to back to the Foo Fighters and carried on beyond the end of the war.

And the letter by Colonel Spaudling tells us that there was information available that was not part of the Blue Book system.

Lance said...


I know that you are pretty reasonable about this stuff but saying that Blue Book wasn't an investigation is pretty misleading.

You have provided ample evidence that in the later years the project was slipshod, perhaps institutionally, and certainly due to occasional individual incompetence. But in the early days, it does seem that an honest effort was made to get to the bottom of the thing (even if there were lapses--there are lapses in everything).

By painting such a broad brush, you do what your more rabid colleagues do--which is no service to the truth.


cda said...

It is, and was, standard practice for ETHers to claim that Blue Book was only a front for the real UFO investigation and research, which was controlled by some magical 'silence group' (as per Keyhoe) or some other agency as the CIA or the NSA.

That might have been a valid argument for a massive official cover-up in the 1950s or possibly even the 1960s. But now? Still a cover-up after nearly 7 decades?

Kevin: Please stop kidding yourself and remember that UFOs are a worldwide phenomenon, not a US one.

Of course there was information available that was not part of the Blue Book system. Ruppelt told us that only some 10% of sightings made in the US ever reached Blue Book. And even these discount all those made elsewhere in the world.

KRandle said...

Lance -

I didn't say that Blue Book wasn't an investigation... there were a few brief times when they actively attempted something like an investigation. But it is clear that in the last decade and a half of its existence, the emphasis was on public relations rather than real investigation (unless, of course, they were forced into the appearance of investigation by public pressure). Look at the Minot case... Quintanilla made his investigation on the telephone and then proclaimed that the airman at the base had mistaken a B-52 for some of the sightings and that an ionization of the atmosphere explained some of the others. This was right after Klass floated that idea.

The point is that no real investigation was taking place but they had this project which was supposed to investigate so they made some half-hearted efforts. But there was no real attempts to learn anything. They simply wanted to explain.

Jack Brewer said...

Even if we accept Blue Book and related projects as disingenuous PR efforts, it seems to me we would still keep coming back to intention. Deceptive spooks does not an ET presence make, at least not necessarily. If I had to lay odds, my money would be on ideas as presented by Pilkington and Carrion of orchestrated deception operations as opposed to ET cover-ups.

Does one necessarily negate the other? No, but we're still a long way from confirming an alien presence no matter how one wants to interpret any given specific incident or another.

David Rudiak said...

The "orchestrated deception" (OD) theory is another overly simplistic model that explains little if anything and makes no sense.


1. The UFO phenomenon is worldwide and approximately 10% of those polled in industrial countries think they've seen one. If only 1% of those who think they've seen one (or only .1% of the population) have actually seen an OD campaign instead (the rest seeing something else), this is still well over a million sightings WORLDWIDE in the last 70 years (just in industrial countries, maybe several times that if the third world is included).

These OD crews sure are busy! Do the numbers for the last 70 years and this amounts to at least 40 OD campaigns WORLDWIDE (even in hostile countries) EVERY SINGLE DAY.

2. Despite being involved in an incredible number of fake UFO sightings, these deception crews NEVER GET CAUGHT IN THE ACT, documents saying they exist (or existed) never appear, and not one member of what must now be tens of thousands of former members of these OD crews has ever come forward and claimed responsibility.

3. These OD displays include the phenomenal ability to create mass sightings, simultaneous radar/visual sightings, close up sightings with all the usual anomalous characteristics of UFOS (such as total silence, physical trace evidence, radiation, levitation, etc., phenomenonal speed, acceleration, and maneuverability, etc.)

4. And what's the point? To supposedly fool the American people into thinking UFO exists do scare the Russians? The Russians with all their vast military and intelligence apparatus (at least the equal of our own during the Cold War) never figure it out?

I consider OD theories another version of "drooling idiot" theory (Reg. trademark), requiring mass numbers (here millions) of dupes and fools (including the entire Russian military/intelligence apparatus) who can never figure out they are part of a long con by mysterious, invisible U.S. OD teams.

Now contrary to this, if the Rooskies KNOW UFOs to be real and at least some not made by us (i.e., ET, transdimensional, demons, whatever), then you might be able to sometimes fool them by trying to camouflage some secret spy plane or other project as UFO sightings.

I can't think of a single instance of where this has actually been true. When we were flying spy planes and balloons over Russia, the Russians were NEVER fooled that these were actually real UFOs, instead registering complaints that we were violating their airspace.

And I can't think of a single instance where the Russians fooled us (i.e. our military and intelligence apparatus) into thinking one of their craft was a real UFO. Again, such a deception would only work if the U.S. military/intelligence likewise knew/believed that some UFOs were real and not made by any nation on Earth.

Jack Brewer said...

Your argument, David Rudiak, shows a substantial lack of understanding of the work of Pilkington and Carrion, among others. To the point that I'm rather confident you have not reasonably reviewed their work prior to launching an argument against it.

I invite you to consider that when debate evolves to calling people drooling idiots, it's no longer debate. What's more, I'm pretty sure it clouds the objectivity of those who employ such tactics. Actually, I'm sure it does.

Lance said...


I think you better listen to David. When it comes to elaborate unsubstantiated theories that make no sense, Rudiak has the market cornered.

At least he didn't call you a liar (that's his standard fallback when the drooling idiot gambit doesn't work).


Nitram Ang said...

A shame that it was getting interesting and then Lance without thinking posted:

"I think you better listen to David. When it comes to elaborate unsubstantiated theories that make no sense, Rudiak has the market cornered."

Not quite right Lance...

This kind of "evidence" fits right in with the rest of the heap of dubious stuff that UFO debunkers point to: mostly worthless.

When it comes to elaborate unsubstantiated theories (eg Mogul balloon theory) that make no sense, Lance & his cronies have the market cornered.

Don Maor said...

In fact, seeing the last attitude of Lance, I have come to the conclusion that UFO debunkers are sympathetic to the UFO theories that are (more or less) crazy.

Only very rarely can one see a UFO debunker quarrelling against NAZI UFO proponents, or against a paraufological theory or a highly conspiranoic scheme such as "the extraterrestrial hypothesis was intentionally implanted to conceal the real truth: UFOs are secret prototypes ", etc.

The reality is that UFO debunker are obsessed with the ETH, they hate the ETH, and only the ETH. Why is it so?

David Rudiak said...

Jack Brewer wrote:

"Your argument, David Rudiak, shows a substantial lack of understanding of the work of Pilkington and Carrion, among others. To the point that I'm rather confident you have not reasonably reviewed their work prior to launching an argument against it.

"I invite you to consider that when debate evolves to calling people drooling idiots, it's no longer debate. What's more, I'm pretty sure it clouds the objectivity of those who employ such tactics. Actually, I'm sure it does."

Pilkington and Carrion are basically arguing that UFOs are a myth invented by U.S. counterintelligence to confuse the Russians. Isn't that right?

Hardly original. E.g., debunker James Oberg has been using that line for years, including that the Russians have been doing the same to us.

I consider these theories to be largely idiotic because they assume that one or both sides can carry on a massive long con like this (which by now must amount to hundreds of thousands of deception campaigns over decades all over the world) and neither side ever catches on. Truly amazing!

Whenever this theory pops up again, I always ask the likes of Oberg how the vast military and intelligence apparatus of the major powers would ever be deceived for long unless they also had good reason to believe (from their own investigations) that some fraction of UFOs were indeed not made by any nation on earth. Then you might occasionally be able to pass off your secret plane or project as a UFO if it had some characteristics of a UFO. Otherwise, you might as well try to use Santa Claus and his flying reindeer as a cover story. The other side doesn't believe in Santa Claus, so why should they believe your new spy plane is caused by Santa Claus?

Same with trying to convince them they are dealing with advanced ET spacecraft. If they don't believe in such things, the cover is totally useless.

(Ironically, claiming that UFOs are an effective cover for secret projects is a tacit admission that UFOs are real, otherwise no point in trying to pass them off as such to the other side.)

And BTW Jack, I didn't say Pilkington or Carrion were "drooling idiots". I said their conspiratorial theories assume that EVERYBODY who has had a UFO experience or investigated such much be drooling idiots to never catch on that it was all a magic act.

I first used the term "drooling idiot theory" (DIT) to describe debunker theories of what happened at Roswell, usually that the military people Roswell at Roswell and the towns' people were all too stupid to catch on that all that was found was a balloon (or were all part of the vast conspiracy to dupe the U.S. public and the Russians?).

Likewise the guys at Rendlesham were duped, in 1946 the Swedish experts were duped by ghost rockets, 200 of which were tracked on radar (and how did our counterintelligence geniuses pull that off?), hundreds of airline pilots have been duped (or are they part of the grand conspiracy as well?), astronomers have been duped, missile scientists have been duped, millions of ordinary citizens have been duped, and on and on.

And this is taking place all over the world, our "mirage men" staging fantastic, impossible numbers of UFO events to keep the grand delusion going. Only Oberg, Pilkington, and Carrion are smart enough to figure it out. What geniuses!

Since you seem to swallow this their conspiratorial line, please explain how Oberg, Pilkington, and Carrion might not themselves be dupes of counterintelligence or themselves part of a real plot to further confuse the public about UFOs, creating a fictional conspiracy of "mirage men" manufacturing the whole UFO belief?

Actually I think the latter makes far more sense than their decades-long world-wide conspiracy involving millions of dupes. If anything, the official line since 1947 hasn't been that UFO are real, but that they AREN'T real.

cda said...

The objections to the 'OD' idea are the same as the objections to the 'ET cover-up' idea. The time factor is the key.

You can, possibly, envisage a cover-up of either kind going on for a few months, maybe even 3 or 4 years if stretched, during the early post-WW2 period.

But nobody, apart from the most fanatical conspiracist, would accept that such deception can go on worldwide for 7 decades.

And even this time period discounts all the historical UFO cases.

As an aside, does anyone remember Dr Leon Davidson of the 1960s and his theory that the CIA engineered not only Adamski's contacts but even his trips into space!?

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

Can someone point out where James Oberg has made the claim that Rudiak mentions above? That is that UFO's "are a myth invented by U.S. counterintelligence to confuse the Russians"

I know documentation is not a part of the discussion often here (since there is no documentation for the tales usually discussed here) but surely Rudiak can back up this claim?

My suspicion is that Rudiak is distorting things as usual but please prove me wrong.

We do have evidence that US intelligence did observe that some secret flights precipitated UFO reports and that they maybe even acted upon this knowledge from time to time. But that is a far cry from the claim Rudiak makes against Oberg above.

I know that Carrion paints a MUCH broader brush similar to what David claims above. In doing so, he loses credibility. His claim is only slightly less believable than the perfect magical conspiracy that Rudiak imagines in his conspiracy-addled worldview. In this case, I have to agree with my dear friend, David Rudiak: such a large conspiracy is not credible. Carrion is simply wrong. (I don't know about the other folks mentioned but if their claims are that broad then they, too, are wrong).

It is funny that David can't conceive of a vast conspiracy involving conventional spy vs. spy elements but that he is all in for a much larger conspiracy that involves alien spacecraft, and bodies (and possibly leprechauns as well).


KRandle said...

All -

This has badly slipped off the rails again. This was a posting that suggested that the Air Force was less than enthusiastic in their UFO investigations. They were more interested in slapping solutions on cases than in discovering what was really going on. Evidence? Just look at the Levelland nonsense. The Air Force said only three people saw the object, but newspaper clippings, in the Blue Book file, contain the names of more than three people who saw the object (as opposed to just lights).

This goes back to the very beginniing. All you have to do is look at the attempted smear of William Rhodes... The Air Force said he was a third-rate musician living off his wife's income, overlooking the fact that he had held an important job with the Navy at the beginning of WW II, and that he held a number of patents.

So, realizing that this will end the current discussion, how about we drag it back to the fact that Project Blue Book did few indepth investigations. The evidence is in the files.

Tim Hebert said...


I believe that James Oberg has merely postulated, and in some scenarios, outright proved that re-entry of rocket boosters and orbital decay of satellites have been the culprits in a few UFO cases.

The above described both US and USSR boosters/satellite re-entries.

Lance said...

Yes, Tim, that is what my memory is as well.

I realize that it sounds better to the non-discerning faithful here to blow it all up into something it isn't. That is a standard Rudiak tactic (as is calling everyone liars).


David Rudiak said...

To Tim Herbert and Lance:

Oberg has definitely embraced the idea that Russia and the U.S. have used UFOs as covers for their secret projects. One example, from Oberg's own website and mouth:

"Soviet Saucers and Space Secrets"

In the opening years of the Space Age (the 1960s), the Soviet public was gripped by two big enthusiasms -- their country's pioneering feats in space exploration, and their country as host to visitations by space aliens aboard UFOs (only natural, since everybody knew that advanced societies anywhere would be communistic). This talk reveals for the first time how these two themes were secretly interwoven, as Soviet military missile and space activities accidentally sparked most of the most famous 'UFO flaps' in Russia -- and then how Moscow officials opportunistically adapted the 'UFO identity' as camouflage to divert and suppress public reports of strange lights in the sky (reports that could provide Western military intelligence services with key insights into features of the top-secret aerospace systems, some of them treaty-breaking, being witnessed in action by ordinary people all across the Soviet Union). Meanwhile, Western UFO experts enthusiastically embraced these faux-UFO reports as more evidence that "UFOs are real and Soviet cases prove it", with the delicious irony that while they railed against "government cover-ups" of UFO data in their own countries, they became unwitting dupes of a genuine Moscow military cover-up campaign (and many of them remain so long after the collapse of the Soviet Union). This talk presents decades of original research integrated into a narrative both fascinating and amusing, and after half a century of secrecy and deception, satisfyingly eye-opening.

What Oberg DOESN'T discuss, even when questioned about it, is why would the authorities care what the peasants or "believers" in the U.S. and Russia thought they saw?

Unless the authorities know or strongly believe some UFOs to be quite real (i.e., real flying objects NOT made by any country on earth), then UFOs as cover stories for secret aerospace projects are totally useless.

Lance said...


But you said:

"Pilkington and Carrion are basically arguing that UFOs are a myth invented by U.S. counterintelligence to confuse the Russians. Isn't that right?

...James Oberg has been using that line for years, including that the Russians have been doing the same to us."

which simply is untrue (I was gonna call you a liar but that's your bailiwick).

As anyone can see (and you above now admit), you set up a false hasty generalization of what Oberg actually represented. That is how you operate: without interest in the truth but with an unshakable piousness towards your saucer religion.
You do yourself no service with such dishonesty but,rest assured, the regulars here will always eat it up.

Tim Hebert said...

Dr. Rudiak,

You said: "What Oberg DOESN'T discuss, even when questioned about it, is why would the authorities care what the peasants or "believers" in the U.S. and Russia thought they saw?"

And you equate this with both governments believing that UFOs, as an ET source, existed to some extent?

Pardon me, you wrote "strongly agreed." Your statements are so far reaching as to what the government of both countries "strongly" agreed.

What you fail to address is that Oberg, based on his experience in the Air Force and NASA, has adequately refuted quite a few UFO cases based on rocket booster and satellite re-entry...and that it was, and still is, plausible that clandestine programs were hid in "plain sight" under the ruse of UFO activities.

You reach much too far on this one my dear doctor.

David Rudiak said...

To the deniers and nitpickers and reading-comprehension-challenged:

Another Oberg quote (this time about the Kecksberg incident and the U.S. supposedly using "UFO" as a cover story for recovery of an alleged Soviet probe), originally from OMNI Magazine, Sept. 1993:

UFO UPDATE: UFO buffs may be unwitting pawns in an elaborate government charade

For decades, UFO buffs have delighted themselves with tales of crashed saucers and government cover-ups of recovered aliens and ships. They have dedicated themselves to digging out the truth and exposing the government's deceptions. Now, in a delicious irony, a famous UFO case may actually involve a real U. S. government cover-up, but UFO buffs are on the wrong side. Instead of exposing the truth, they may be unwitting pawns in the deception.

[Then argues Kecksburg was really caused by a failed Russian Kosmos 96 Venus probe, that the Air Force allegedly lied about as coming down 12 hours earlier somewhere else.]

But why in the world would our government lie? In the 1960s, U.S. military intelligence agencies interested in enemy technology were eagerly collecting all the Soviet missile and space debris they could find. International law required that debris be returned to the country of origin. But hardware from Kosmos-96, with its special missile-warhead shielding, would have been too valuable to give back....

But those of us who've studied the relationship between U.S. military intelligence and the former Soviet Union still wonder. After all, what better camouflage than to let people think the fallen object was not a Soviet probe but rather a flying saucer? The Russians would never suspect, and the Air Force laboratories could examine the specimen at leisure. And if suspicion lingered, why UFO buffs could be counted on to maintain the phony cover story, protecting the real truth.

So there you have it, another Oberg example of governments supposedly using UFOs as cover for something earthly and prosaic.

Incidentally, Leslie Kean, back in 2003, contacted NASA's own expert in orbital debris, Nicholas Johnson, who informed her that it was absolutely impossible for any part of Kosmos 96 to have come down at Kecksburg, nor anything else orbiting that day. In fact, that was Oberg's own conclusion when he originally examined the tracking data back in 1991. Why the big flip-flop in 1993?

Now again, besides Oberg manufacturing a non-existent Russian probe recovery, the thesis never made any sense. The Russians would have been quite capable of tracking their own space probes and have a pretty good idea of where they would have come down. So supposed U.S. government lying or obfuscation of a widely reported event is unlikely to have fooled them. It is also a lie that the U.S. government encouraged the idea that Kecksburg was some sort of UFO crash. That is absolute nonsense and historical revisionism. (Instead, the widely seen fireball was said to be a meteor and a search at Kecksburg found nothing.) And even if the U.S. did encourage such UFO belief, why would the Russians ever fall for it unless they believed UFOs to be a fact?

And here are some MORE examples, quoting Oberg, about the U.S. allegedly encouraging citizens to believe that our own secret or embarrassing military activities (including alleged nuclear accidents) were the result of UFOs (notice it is all pure hearsay on Oberg’s part):

So deniers and nitpickers, where have I misrepresented Oberg, or the fact that he has been spouting basically the same line as relative newcomers Pilkington and Carrion (namely in belief in UFOs was encouraged or manufactured by the U.S. and/or Russia as covers for other things)?

David Rudiak said...

My apologies to Kevin for the sidetrack onto UFOs being deliberate government misinformation as covers for other stuff.

To try to get this back on track with the original thread, Bruce Maccabee has a discussion of where the Trents at various times did say government types did come out and speak to them, including possibly the FBI, the A.F., and unidentified "detectives," whom Mrs. Trent said invaded their house when she was there and tossed it, looking for something. (From the description, it sounds like they were looking for evidence of a hoax.) If this happened, it was clearly illegal if there was no warrant.

Concerning the "detectives," Maccabee speculates they sounded like AFOSI, who Maccabee says were charged with on-site investigation during the period of Project Grudge (1949-1951).

Maccabee also points out there is no documentation to be found for any of this. (If there was an illegal home invasion, I doubt some agency would want to leave a paper trail of this.) Instead, it is based on various statements of the Trents years later.

In a way, this is loosely connected to the sidethread, except it doesn't sound like the alleged G-men were trying to encourage the Trents to believe in UFOs as cover for something else. According to James McDonald's notes from 1969, Paul Trent instead continued to believe that maybe it was a secret Army project he had photographed.

Jack Brewer said...

I wouldn't argue with KR that Blue Book appeared relatively uninterested in conducting in depth investigation for all practical purposes. I'd still say we have to establish intent, though, of specifically why that would be.

I'd concede some reported phenomena warrant further investigation. That stated, we can also identify circumstances in which Uncle Sam conducted covert operations in which the UFO community was run around in misinformed circles. Whether that was a byproduct or intention, the fact will remain we would have to establish intent and motive.

But, yes, the assertion that Blue Book was rather cosmetic, whatever the reasons, is reasonable.

David Rudiak said...

I wrote:

Concerning the "detectives," Maccabee speculates they sounded like AFOSI, who Maccabee says were charged with on-site investigation during the period of Project Grudge (1949-1951).

Maccabee also points out there is no documentation to be found for any of this. (If there was an illegal home invasion, I doubt some agency would want to leave a paper trail of this.) Instead, it is based on various statements of the Trents years later.

I should have mentioned that further in Maccabee's paper, he writes there was independent corroboration of the Trents' story, namely the AF in plain clothes (which could very well be AFOSI), at about the same time the Trents said they were visited, confiscating all prints from the McMinnville newspaper:

An independent statement about government involvement was made by a reliable source, Bill Powell, the newspaperman who originally published the Trent's story. Powell volunteered the information (without any question about it from me) in a phone conversation in 1976. Referring to copy negatives and prints which he had retained at the newspaper office (the original negatives had, by this time, been "lost" in the files of the INS) Powell said, "Anyway, the damn Air Force latched onto them and I never did get them back." (35) He went on to say that "They sent in a plainclothes (man who) had the paper to do it" about "two weeks to a month after the pictures were published". Note that this time period agrees with Trent's claim that he was visited about three weeks after the pictures were published. Powell said that he wrote registered letters and sent telegrams to the Air Force but never got a response and never got the pictures back. Philip Bladine, the editor, wasn't in McMinnville on the day that Powell published the Trent photos, but he heard about the sighting when he returned. In a letter to P. Klass, Bladine stated that, after the negatives were sent to Life Magazine, "they (Life) claimed the negatives were returned but we never received them." (46) Bladine then stated that he had "always been suspicious that they were confiscated by military people."

David Rudiak said...

To Jack Brewer,

I would say there is certainly good evidence of deliberate government disinformation and counterintelligence to mislead the public and researchers about UFOs, but it is has been to discredit the subject and researchers, not to convince the public (or the Ruissians) that they are real. The Paul Bennewitz affair is just one classic example. Kevin has given other examples, such as trying to smear the reputation of UFO witnesses like William Rhodes.

This is an odd way of trying to convince the public at large of the reality of things. The CIA Robertson Panel, e.g., was quite explicit, that they wanted a mass media propaganda campaign to DISCREDIT the subject and discourage the public from filing UFO reports, supposedly with the purpose of unclogging intelligence communication channels. If anything, the concern was that the Russians could possibly try to exploit this by using the public's belief in UFOs as a psychological weapon against us.

This is the exact opposite of Carrion's hypothesis, that the U.S. government was trying to convince the public and the Russians that UFOs were real, and did so on an unbelievably massive and global scale.

Jack Brewer said...

David Rudiak,

One, this is not the place to debate Carrion's work,

Two, I'm not going to debate it with someone who clearly either has not read it and/or does not understand it, and

Three, you too readily assign assumed intentions to the actions of various IC activities, imo. Here is a case of the CIA circa 1954 considering use of a "big" fabricated flying saucer story for purposes that seem to elude considerations of the vast majority:

cda said...

I think we can dismiss the Trent's tale of being visited by the FBI and/or the AF or 'men in black' (why never men in white?) and so on.

W.K.Hartmann spoke to the Trents in 1967 and investigated the photos, and gave a positive, i.e. pro-UFO, interpretation. There is nothing about these alleged 'visits' in his narrative.

I suspect that with time the Trents added 'padding' to their story, having familiarised themselves with other UFO tales of 'men in black' or whatever.

All of which detracts from the value of their original story.

There were numerous FBI UFO files made public long ago. Were any of these related to the Trent's case?

Lance said...

There are other circumstances that cast doubt on the Trent pictures (but are not confirmatory). I see evidence of deception on the part of Mrs. Trent in some of the conversations she had with Klass. But nothing is proven.


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Jared Rardin said...

Everyone forgets the most important thing here. Will answer your off-tangent arguments with 3 letters. UFO- does it mean et? Top secret next gen vehicle that humans are making?

I don't need a Pretty Horrible Doctorate (PH.D, for you non believers) to tell me what I see. I have eyes, I've seen all manor of craft, swamp gas on fire, been in the military, blah blah blah. If I see something that isn't what I think it is, that's delusional and frightening, that I have a drivers license and raised my kids so you better lock me up because I saw a dragon in the ground, or a tree made of stone!

The point is, you didn't see it, none of you did. So quick to chastise or criticize, attack attack attack. Blow it up, then knit pick it apart.

Grow up, use your own reasoning skills instead of others, quote this guy or that woman. Sound like spoiled kids arguing until mom or dad smacks you till you shut up.

If your gonna argue, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. Like E.T. traversing the universe but dumb enough to leave evidence? Ya, OK. You'd never know because we are compared to Neanderthals looking at a monolith in Africa, then on the moon, then by Jupiter, ya, bad analogy (14 yrs late) but great comparison.

So again class, what does UFO mean? Yes you can use Websters dictionary for this one!
How bout USO?

But one last tidbit, in the bible, replace heaven with outer space and how does that change the stories? Not at all, god created earth, so hes not from it, created angels off planet, so they're not of it, so by definition, extra terrestrial. So we have already been visited and documented these multiple visits and physical interactions and call it faith. This has been going on for millennia! He have no faith.

If you can't swallow that, then quit going to church because you're worshipping et's! Again, Neanderthal worshipping a monolith.

So please, don't quote, use your brain and imagination, its all we really can control and be free with right?