(Blogger's Note: Over the last few weeks, I have learned about this on going dispute among the various parties mentioned. Since some of this information has now been circulated on the Interent in various venues, I thought it was time to provide Tony with the opportunity to tell his side of the story. This is what Tony had to say about it.)
UFO AUTHOR HACKED IN EFFORT TO OBTAIN ROSWELL EVIDENCE
BY ANTHONY BRAGALIA
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of those who publish it.
This writer (Anthony Bragalia) has been cyber-attacked several times in an effort to learn more about Kodachrome slides confirmed to have been taken in 1947. The slides depict a humanoid creature resembling alien beings reported to have crashed near Roswell that year. An associate of Richard Reynolds (of the “RRR Group” and long-running blog UFO Iconoclasts, now UFO Conjectures) named Ross Evans worked with a skilled hacker in an attempt to steal the slides that were erroneously believed to be stored in my computer system. Collaborating with the hacker, Evans began to exploit information derived from my stolen emails, including contacting scientists and witnesses associated with the slides investigation, as well as other researchers who may know something about them. Reynolds –working with Evans- even published the names of these witnesses and scientists online until a demand letter was issued to delete them.
RICHARD REYNOLDS IMPLICATED IN CYBER-CRIME
Earlier this month a formal criminal grievance was filed by me against Reynolds and Evans with the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center. It is hoped that an investigation will be launched by the agency with charges brought against them to include the impersonation of an FBI agent. If arrested and convicted, penalties for such crimes could include fines and imprisonment. Copies of the complaint have been placed with several UFO researchers to verify this filing, including with author Kevin Randle.
Informed of my concerns about the hacking and theft, Reynolds has vindictively deleted all 50+ articles written over five years by me that have appeared on his blogs.
HOW IT WENT DOWN
Some readers may know that some time ago a chest once owned by a deceased couple was found to contain a stash of old slides, including two Kodachromes of special interest. Depicting a small humanoid corpse, these extraordinary slides were authenticated by a renowned Kodak expert as having been exposed in 1947. This author discovered that the husband was an oil exploration geologist who worked the New Mexico region in the 1940s for his company (a Texaco predecessor) including in the Permian Basin, a region encompassing Roswell. He was also the President of the local geological association in 1947. Google “Roswell Slides” to learn more. Over two years have been spent in securing experts, researching the back story, conducting interviews and scientific tests and in arranging the forthcoming televised broadcast of the slides. During the course of all of this, leaks had occurred to the UFO community about the existence of the slides.
Frustrated believers and skeptics alike began to display behaviors that are worthy of a mass psychology dissertation. Rank speculation, accusations of fraud and money-motivation, name-calling and feelings of exclusion were all on display. Some seemed to throw conniption fits, demanding the public disclosure of the slides immediately. UFO blogger Paul Kimball (nephew of UFOlogist Stan Friedman) sunk to even more ugly levels. He made public the private emails that he had received from author Kevin Randle concerning Kevin’s thoughts on the slides, in an attempt to stir dissension among Roswell researchers.
Even learned people such as French skeptic Gilles Fernandes, PhD and Christopher Allen (CDA) of the UK chimed in by insisting that the slides cannot be real. They were reduced to mudslinging and character assassination because –like Reynolds- they had no real insight to offer. US skeptic Tim Printy stated in his SUNlite UFO e-zine that it was his belief that the slides probably depicted a dead and mutilated Army Air Corp serviceman who had crashed. Bear in mind the remarkable thing that none of these individuals have ever even been part of the investigation! Yet their opinions, reactions and attitudes make it seem as if they knew everything! Minds were made up, lines were drawn and arrows flung even before any actual public disclosure of the slides.
The individual that seemed the most crazed in his rabble-rousing about the slides was blogger Richard Reynolds. I had no formal association with Reynolds (I have never even spoken with him) though I was a frequent article contributor to his blog for some years. As Reynolds became more intrigued by the slides, he began to try to insert himself in the story. Not content with serving host to articles about the slides, he wanted to be an active participant in the ‘drama’ surrounding them. So extreme was Reynolds’s obsession that on his blog he began to spin from whole cloth tales about what the slides really meant.
At first he maintained that they related to the alleged 1948 Aztec, NM saucer crash and that the geologist who possessed the slides had worked with Silas Newton, an oilman associated with Aztec. There is not one shred of evidence that this is so. UFO researcher Frank Warren, an expert on Aztec, agrees. Then Reynolds changed course to a more terrestrial explanation: it was a mummy in a museum. It is not. When a prominent NASA scientist who saw the slides wrote to Rich that it was not a mummy, Reynolds took a different spin on that- he said that he had information that it was a man from White Sands who had mummified in a secret experiment. Finally, Reynolds, in another tale, suggested that the Texas Attorney General was pursuing charges against those who found the slides for theft. Of course this was ridiculous and it never happened.
Reynolds obsession about the slides then took a decidedly more deplorable turn…
This past summer, Reynolds had forwarded to me an email that he said that he had received from someone who wished to contact me. The individual, using a pseudonym and an encrypted email service address, stated he had important information to relate about the slides. When I received the email and replied to this individual that I would be open to learning more, I had unknowingly opened a ‘portal’ to attack by a hacker. The individual was not someone who wished to share information with me, it was someone who wished to steal it from me! Once I became “infected” by the hacker’s malware, he then changed my password and began to read all of my emails relating to Roswell. The hacker would taunt me by emailing me back the information that he was learning about the investigation.
Reynolds associate Ross Evans then somehow began a direct communication with the hacker. Evans (who actually emailed me his intent) stated that he aimed to expose everything about the slides that he obtained.
Evans then began to contact the people mentioned in my emails, emails that Evans knew were mine and that had been stolen by a hacker! This included a photo scientist involved in authentication of the slides and a Roswell serviceman (now 90) who had seen the bodies at the crash and who had confirmed that the being in the slides looked like the ones he had seen at the Roswell crash. Evans even sent to me the phone number of the elderly witness as if he were threatening to contact him.
Evans emailed Reynolds all that he had learned from the hacker. Then Reynolds published the names of the scientist and elderly witness on his blog. He knowingly placed online information that was obtained from my stolen emails. And he knew that his friend Ross Evans was working with the hacker who attacked me. It was only when I emailed Reynolds that what he was doing was illegal and could create serious harm, that he immediately deleted these names from his blog.
By this point, Reynolds had fashioned himself as some sort of “Wiki-Leaker” or Eric Snowden wannabe. He would publish and exploit anything on the slides, even it was made up or obtained illegally. In addition to publishing information derived from my stolen emails, Reynolds began emailing many researchers to ask if they had any information about people whose names Reynolds had obtained from my stolen emails.
RICHARDS’ FABRICATED FBI ALLY
In earlier emails to me, Reynolds stated that he had found out who the hacker was. He said that he had an FBI associate (referred to as “our FBI guy”) who had identified the hacker. Reynolds maintained that “his” agent had “created a dossier” on the hacker and that this agent had shared it with Reynolds. Reynolds said that the dossier could only be opened by “a digital key.” For some reason he would not email it to me directly, but would instead have Ross Evans email it to me, and later would send the “digital key” to open the “dossier.’’ Reynolds then claimed that the dossier was “bouncing back” to them as having been rejected by my server and therefore undeliverable. Then Reynolds maintained he could not send it to me by email at all as it would not be wise to do so.
The real reason of course is that there was no “FBI dossier” furnished to Reynolds by an FBI ally. The FBI does not share with complainants investigative documents that detail information on a suspect. That would compromise their investigation. They do not email to them digitally encrypted copies of their findings in an ongoing case. There never was any FBI agent at all who said these things, or had provided these things to Reynolds. When Reynolds and I exchanged emails about this, Reynolds stated that his agent had determined that I was “psychotic.”
ENDING THE HACKING
The hacking was finally stopped only when I “killed” the intruder by pulling the plug on him. Not wanting to wait for law enforcement, I called the CEO of Safe-Mail.net, Mr. Amiram Ofir, in Israel. The hacker had been sending emails to me from Mr. Ofir’s encrypted email service. Mr. Ofir’s security team was able to successfully disengage the hacker’s account and connection to the Safe-Mail.net system. Ofir explained that my computer had been compromised through my reply to the hacker’s original email to me. The hacker then went into my Web Mail and enabled the email forwarding option so that copies of my incoming and outgoing emails were also sent to the hacker’s Safe-Mail.net account. Hackers have become so adept that it is no longer necessary to have to click through a link or open an attachment- the mere act of replying to a hacker’s email can infect your system, with passwords changed and emails read.
WEBSITE AND ARTICLES TAKEN DOWN IN RETALIATION
Reynolds last email to me indicated that I had better act fast as time was ticking: He was going to delete all 50+ articles that I had contributed to his UFO Iconoclasts blog over the past five years as well as delete the associated Bragalia Files blog. And in retaliation, he did just that. To make it easier to do so, Reynolds then changed the name of his blog (retaining the same address) to UFO Conjectures. Reynolds had reached a point where he would vindictively remove a 5+ year body of UFO research as well as the associated commentary by his readers. Very fortunately, when these articles are Googled, there are “cached” versions that can be clicked to read. And very fortunately too, many websites reproduced my articles that appeared on UFO Iconoclasts and The Bragalia Files. These articles have been assembled for inclusion in a new website under development which will also provide a venue for continued reporting. In the interim, several bloggers have kindly offered me to contribute future pieces on their sites.
It bothers me to have written this piece. Such “drama” distracts from investigation. Every minute immersed in the ‘politics and personalities’ of UFOs is a minute taken away from conducting needed UFO research. Another thing learned: We have met the foe. And it is not the rabid skeptic nor even “the government” – it is us. We destabilize our efforts based on our own actions. Name-calling, in-fighting and jealousy only cheapens and discredits the UFO field. And resorting to illegal activities like hacking other researchers’ computers has the potential to destroy it entirely.