Thursday, July 07, 2016

Chasing Footnotes - Roswell and Original Sources

This is another of those posts that chases footnotes and though it begins with Richard Dolan, he is merely the starting point and this isn’t a criticism of his scholarship… well, maybe a little bit but you’ll understand as we get deeper into this. As an aside, and one that is not directed at Dolan here, I wonder how it is that some lies seem to mean nothing in our world of the UFO and simple mistakes are presented as false claims, and yes, this should become clear later as well.

Richard Dolan. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
Dolan provides a brief summary of the Roswell case in his book, and footnotes many of the comments he makes. He describes for us some of the testimony of Barbara Dugger. Dolan wrote:

Barbara Dugger was the granddaughter of Roswell Sheriff George Wilcox. She claimed that her grandmother, Inez (the wife of George Wilcox), said that after the incident, military police told the Wilcox couple that the entire family would be killed if they ever talked about it. Inez said George Wilcox had gone out to the site, saw a big burned area, debris and “four space beings” with big heads and suits “like silk.” One of the beings was alive. According to Dugger: “if she [Inez] said it happened, it happened.”

I have nothing to object to here. The information provided, is what Dugger told Don Schmitt and me when we interviewed her. It is the footnote that is somewhat annoying. The footnote takes us to Stan Friedman and Don Berliner’s Crash at Corona. There they tell us that I interviewed Miss Barbara Dugger in early 1991. The question is, shouldn’t Dolan have acknowledged the original source of the information, which clearly he knew because that information is in his source. And isn’t the original source, that is the interview that Don and I conducted, a better source than one that quotes me rather than us. Or, in other words, shouldn’t Dolan have referred to our original work rather than the intermediate report of Friedman and Berliner that used us.

Okay, that’s not really egregious. He did provide the information that takes you, eventually, to the original source. And, as we delve into this, we’ll find that Dolan quoted one of the sources he had, though a little research would have revealed the original source which is a better source than those repeating information.

What does this mean?

Dolan describes what Bill Brazel had said, which as you all know was a description of some of the debris he picked up, that his father had been held in Roswell for a number of days and then soldiers had shown up a few days after he had talked about finding the debris while in Corona. Dolan’s account, though short, is fairly accurate. He does misspell Mack Brazel’s name as Mac, but we all did that until Tom Carey learned that it had a “K” at the end. The footnote takes us to Friedman and Berliner again.

Bill Brazel. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
Here's where the problem develops. They wrote, “According to his son, Bill Jr., Mac never felt like he had done anything special.” They then quote from an interview with Bill in some detail. The problem is that neither Friedman nor Berliner were at that interview. It was conducted by Don Schmitt and me on February 19, 1989, in Carrizozo, New Mexico and was recorded on audiotape. The quotes appear in our book, UFO Crash at Roswell and there is no credit nor attribution for the information given by Friedman and Berliner. Dolan would have no way of learning the original source of the interview so the trail ends there… unless, of course, he had access to our book, which is cited in the footnotes in that same section and is mentioned in his bibliography.

And to make it worse, if possible, Friedman alters a portion of the quote for no reason other than to make it fit with his brief structure and to help prop up the failing Gerald Anderson tale. Friedman, quoting us, quoting Brazel, wrote, “I’m almost positive that the officer in charge, his name was Armstrong, a real nice guy.
Stan Friedman Photo copyright Kevin Randle.
He had a [black] sergeant with him.”

The trouble is, Brazel never said the sergeant was black, and the tape of the interview proves that he never said it. Later Friedman would claim that Brazel had used a racially charged word to describe the sergeant as a way of alibiing his change to our interview. Once again, I have the original tape and Brazel said nothing like that.

There is another point in which Dolan writes about Roswell, and mentioned the testimony of Robert Smith. Dolan briefly describes crates that had been built to transport some of the wreckage out of Roswell. He specifically mentions Robert Smith, and the footnote takes us back to Friedman and Berliner. There is a long quote from Smith in their book and according to them, “In a 1991 interview, he [Robert Smith] described his involvement.”

That’s a neat piece of writing that implies they were there for the interview without saying anything of the kind. What they don’t say is that Don and I interviewed, on videotape, Robert Smith and neither of them were there. The quotes come from our work with neither credit nor attribution.

These are just a few of the examples and I know what you’re thinking, “What difference does it make now?” Well, first I just came across a statement from Friedman saying that my work can’t be trusted because I write science fiction (as do how many others who also investigate UFOs…), that Anderson was responding to what he thought was an unfair characterization of him as a liar and that I’m an anti-abduction propagandist. But the great irony in all this is that prior to the publication of UFO Crash at Roswell, Friedman wrote a letter to our AVON BOOKS editor, John Douglas on June 11, 1990, and falsely claimed, “if once again there are many factual mistakes, flights of fancy, lifting my research much of which remains unpublished.”

(For those interested, Dick Hall in the May/June 1993 issue of the International UFO Reporter wrote that, “Randle alleged that Friedman and others, apparently acting in concert, had attempted to interfere with publication of the book UFO CRASH AT ROSWELL (then in preparation) by contacting the publisher, AVON BOOKS, making charges of plagiarism and generally impugning Randle’s character and integrity. I asked Randle for documentation, which he provided. I asked Friedman for an explanation and he never replied.”)

What happened here, as evidenced by the footnotes provided by Dolan, and by reading the information in the Friedman and Berliner book, was that they actually lifted the research conducted by Don and me and published it as their own without reference to us. In the wording of the statements… “According to his son, Bill Jr., Mac never felt like he had done anything special,” and “In a 1991 interview, he [Robert Smith] described his involvement,” they have not acknowledged the source of the information, or to use Friedman’s words to the AVON editor, they were “lifting my research …” Ironic isn’t it?

Friedman also talked of “flights of fancy,” which is a way of saying inventing imaginative fictitious scenarios, like suggesting the sergeant who visited Brazel was black for no other reason to make it fit in with the Glenn Dennis nonsense and to prop up Gerald Anderson by suggesting corroboration where none existed.

I was going to continue in this vein because there are many examples of these sorts of attacks on me. I know that while I was serving in Iraq, there were those inside the UFO community who questioned whether or not I was really there. Unlike some who have claimed extensive military service, I can actually prove what I say.

The point here is just that periodically I grow tired of the attacks because I happen to disagree with some of the nonsense being sprouted in the UFO community. The attacks are personal rather than an attempt to refute the evidence and when all else fails, just label me a debunker because we don’t have to deal with the truth of the statements.

And I sometimes wonder why, when we have shown that certain points of view are wrong, horribly wrong and laughably wrong, it seems to make no difference as long as that person has a message that people want to hear. It makes no difference if the message is filled with poor research, bad evidence, leaps of logic that are not justified by the information or who are caught in outright lies, people just ignore that, as long as the message fits into their belief structure. I had always thought that people wanted the truth, but obviously it is only their “truth” they wish to hear and that is why we still have people telling us the alien autopsy is real and some believe MJ-12 authentic. It would seem to me that when the evidence is stacked up, that should end the discussion but in the world of the UFO that never happens.

So, I chased a few footnotes here, saw that Richard Dolan hadn’t done the best job of sourcing his material (and sometimes it simply wasn’t possible for him to do that given the sources he used) and that sometimes the information was correct but those claiming to have done the research had “borrowed” it instead. I think we all now have a different perspective of some of this research and rather than respond to the issues raised here, I’ll bet we’ll all have to hear about my “day job” as a science fiction writer as if that somehow negates the points I’ve made. I just wish the UFO community would hold everyone to the same standards rather than personally attacking those who might have a different perspective.


Zak McKracken said...

I think it the correct way is to put both sources in the footnotes, like this

Mr. Randle, Randle : Interview with B.Dugger 1991,

quotation by Friedmann, Stan & Berliner ; Don : Ufocrash etc.

That´s how I learned it from my studies:
Macek, Josef: Historica 13. 1961.

zit. n. Seibt, Ferdinand: Utopica. Zukunftsvisionen aus der Vergangenheit. München 2001, Orbis. S. 83, Fußnote.

TheDimov said...

the trouble is, most people don't put integrity as high on their list as they should. And Dolan is a good example because of his involvement and then cringeworthy retraction from the "BeWitness" fiasco. I think especially in the field of ufology people can get away with things more easily than in other fields and integrity personal or otherwise is not all that important in the overall scheme of things.

KRandle said...

Zak -

Then you'd be obligated to note Randle and Schmitt, UFO Crash at Roswell as well because that is the first published source.

The problem with the Donlan footnote about Brazel is that it takes you to Friedman and Berliner and that source is inaccurate because they added information that is not correct. The point here is that you need to compare the information and the original source is the best. With the Brazel interview, you get the original information that is uncluttered with added detail. It is the best source for this... and the point of this is always getting to the original source to see how it compares with those sources who printed the information later.

Brian Bell said...

Well.....not referencing proper sources in a written article or book is certainly problematic. It happens everywhere, but it seems prevalent in the UFO community. Surprisingly it's a game -- one UFO investigator usurping another. And for what, prestige? They must be lazy or narcissists....perhaps both.

It would seem some UFO "researchers" will deliberately misrepresent details to press their conclusions. They selectively choose "facts" which aren't facts at all hoping gullible readers won't conduct any due diligence. Unfortunately, as Kevin's article states, it's the ufologists in the limelight who play this game.

For starters,

1) These writers look lazy, biased, and myopic about their own agenda, or simply uneducated despite touting their various "degrees".

2) It's fraud, often plagiarism, goes against ethical conduct, and is counter to collegial partnerships normal to the scientific community.

3) It confuses the layperson, spreads misinformation, endorses falsehoods, and tends to propagate a lie.

What's interesting to me is both Friedman and Dolan are guilty of this, and Schmitt and Carey aren't very far behind. There are many others as well, not just these folks. The same can be said about a few prominent skeptics.

To me these people seem motivated by the "almighty dollar" coupled with an insane interest in maintaining a competitive, high profile image over their UFO counterparts. Ego mania perhaps? Greed? Hard to know...

This is no trivial matter. It's helped wreck the credibility of serious UFO investigations. It's one of the many factors which has killed ufology--besides the circus-like sideshow scams.

Friedman is guilty in that he has always tried to draw attention to himself at the expense of others. He's avoided the sideshow events, but he slyly props himself up as THEE world's top UFO expert.

I once thought him credible until the truth became obvious. I recall reading a pro-ET website where the owner witnessed Friedman behind the stage at a conference saying something like "these people will believe anything I tell them."

Perhaps a high point in his career was when he attempted to host a Reddit site after being hired by the producers of the Hollywood film "Apollo 18". The self proclaimed "UFO Physicist" fell flat on his face...caught once again and jeered at by readers.

Don Maor said...


I got tired of your blog. It was good before but not anymore. Bye.

KRandle said...

Don -

Thank you for proving my point. As long as I published information that aligned with your beliefs, the blog was good, but challenge that belief structure, it is now bad. This blog has attempted to be about the truth, about evidence, and about things that interested us all. But delve too deeply into explanations, suggest some of the sacred cows of the UFO community are not as solid as believed, that there are logical explanations based on evidence, then some are no longer interested... Such is life.

Terry the Censor said...

Friedman is a dogmatist, nothing more. Check out this answer he gave Canada's national broadcaster, the CBC, in 2011:

When people doubt that there are aliens and doubt they have visited here, what do they say is needed to convince them?

There aren't many doubters. The four primary rules for the debunkers are: [etc]

Friedman denies the very premise of the question, denies that people can genuinely doubt alien visitation. Doubt is just a result caused by a conspiracy of debunkers!

Note Friedman does not address the reasonable scientific part of the question: "what do they say is needed to convince them?" For Friedman, the evidence is already sufficient. Later he says, "Their disbelief is primarily a result of ignorance of the evidence."

Friedman's discussion of evidence does not discuss evidence! It is an attack on the character of those who do not believe.

Isn't that the third rule of UFO debunkery?

Andrew Hill said...

Thank you for all your hard work and insightful contributions, Kevin. I am sometimes (often!) saddened by your conclusions,but I have great respect for the thorough, meticulous work do. You are, it seems to me, entirely fair, honest, and reasonable: exceptionally so. You are a rarity in this field, and do not deserve the flack you receive. If something catches my interest, check first to see if you have written anything on it. My thanks and appreciation.

Don Maor said...

Kevin, not really. I for example, have disagreed with your opinion about the SOM1-01 or about abductions, but that has never really affected my interest in reading you. But, just look the last message of Brian Bell and tell if it really has some sense to it.

Brian Bell said...

Not to pick on Don, but his declaration of departure seems to mirror Kevin's point.

Mainly, people do tend to seek forums where their beliefs are invigorated, supported, listened to, and which further their beliefs. Call it "reinforcement" of a paradigm...

That's basically the same as ufologists who choose to push certain issues which they don't want challenged, or which will be accepted by the unchallenging masses. If they don't like what they hear they go elsewhere where their voice will be heard and their opinions embraced. And sometimes they get angry and try to muck up someone else's plans.

I've noticed a few truly die hard skeptics have stopped visiting as well.

Is this an indication that ufology is truly dead? Nothing more to discuss?

cda said...


I assume Don is offended by your slightly disparaging remarks about a certain renowned nuclear physicist (whose name escapes me). You do realise that whilst you may have served in Iraq and may have written science fiction, your status as a Roswell researcher cannot possibly compare with that of a man, qualified in and with many years of experience of, a subject like nuclear physics.

The same applies to the San Augustin affair, Gerald Anderson, MJ-12 and countless other aspects of Roswell where nuclear physics plays such a vital part. Therefore, unfortunately, you simply cannot stand in comparison with this other guy when pontificating about the Roswell case.

It is this, I presume, that has caused Don to break off from your blog.

Anthony Mugan said...

I've been somewhat pre-occupied lately. Some blighters seem to have stolen my country (to adapt a quote). Politics and egos are a dangerous mix and not just in ufology by the look of it!
Plenty to discuss, but there are only so many hours in the day...
Looking forward to other interesting discussions in and amongst....

KRandle said...

Don -

Unfortunately, in this case, Brian does make sense. I can point to many cases in which the writers of various books did little other than copy the work of others without bothering to check the facts. I suspect that some of them assumed that the original facts were checked. Case on point... Robert Willingham's military record was not challenged because everyone assumed that Todd Zechel had verified it but no one had until just a few years ago.

Would you like me to point to other evidence of plagiarism? I have found my work quoted in depth on the Internet and in books with neither credit nor attribution. What would you call it? To stop some of this... to try to clear up some of the mess, I have been chasing footnotes to see what the original source had to say.

I was actually going to be more specific, but what good does it do? How many lies does it take to render a source or a "researcher" as unreliable? What kind of backstabbing does it take for us to decide that we don't want to support the man or woman's message? Take Wendelle Stevens as a single example... he spent six or seven years in jail for child molestation... what message could he have that any of us would want to hear? Yet I saw his presentations attended by hundreds of people.

And now, because you don't like something that Brian said, you're going to bail out on the blog... Should I censor all the comments so that they only reflect your belief structure or mine? ... in which case I would have deleted posts that disagree with my conclusions on MJ-12, the SOM 1-01, and alien abductions. What you don't know is that I have deleted some of Brian's posts because I believe they crossed a line into nastiness which I have been attempting to eliminate here... But if you don't like the comments, then don't read them. But the point is, some of what Brian said in the comment that apparently offended you is accurate.

Neal Foy said...

Hi Kevin,

Anyone seeking the truth should applaud and acknowledge your efforts. If you burst a few balloons along the way then so be it. People do tend to believe what they want to believe, and although not scientific it seems to be so. Of course we all know that belief isn't good enough.

For instance, another proven liar, Cavitt, is still believed by some.

Although I like Stan, he does irk me in his ability to be so sure that he is right on ETH,etc. I do think he has value, he is popular on College Campus lectures from what I hear. Even if some of his ideas are questionable he brings interest to the subject from the younger people.

Paul Young said...

Brian Bell wrote...
"2) It's fraud, often plagiarism, goes against ethical conduct, and is counter to collegial partnerships normal to the scientific community."

Absolutely correct. Seems like blatant plagiarism. I know the quotes that Berliner and Freidman lifted from Randle and Schmitt's recorded interview with Bill Brazel is a source of irritation to KR because he's mentioned it here on this blog a few times over the years. (I wonder if you or Don ever sought legal advice over this Kevin?)

Kevin Randle wrote..." Should I censor all the comments so that they only reflect your belief structure or mine? ... in which case I would have deleted posts that disagree with my conclusions on MJ-12, the SOM 1-01, and alien abductions."

Obviously I know where you stand with the MJ-12 documents...but I didn't realise you place the alien abduction phenomenon in the same bracket. Though I consider Bud Hopkins to be barking mad to have believed that cases went into the hundreds of thousands, certainly there are a few reports that seem feasible. (Travis Walton is here in England in Sept at an event I should be at...I might have to waterboard the truth out of him.)

Anthony Mugan..."Some blighters seem to have stolen my country (to adapt a quote)."

I'm proud to say that I was one of those who voted to reclaim it for you.

Brian Bell said...

@ Paul

You can read about the controversy this book (The Abduction Enigma) caused the UFO/Abductee community right here on Kevin's blog. Kevin's viewpoints are in the book with the other authors who co-wrote with him their findings and conclusions.