(Blogger’s Note: For those interested in more information about this, I interviewed James Carrion on my A Different Perspective radio show. You can listen to both hours here:
And for those who wish to read the book, you can find it here:
All this will provide information about Carrion’s theories, some of my thoughts on them, and additional points of view.)
In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I have been involved in the investigation of the Roswell case for more than thirty years. I am deep into the minutia of the case and know where the mistakes were made and what witnesses are more than likely being less than candid. In other words, you might think that I
bring bias to this examination of The Roswell Deception, but I believe I can view it in a very
dispassionate light. I have tried to separate what might be considered a
kneejerk reaction to a new theory that moves us beyond those which has been
traditionally assigned to the Roswell case.
|James Carrion. Photo copyright|
by Kevin Randle
Before we begin, there are a few things that I want to make clear. Just looking at this book as an historical thesis, we are shown a history of the United States as it existed in the late 1940s. We are shown the paranoia that seemed to run rampant, the distrust of our one-time ally, the Soviet Union, and a belief that if our government did it, there are good reasons for it. This is all demonstrated through the newspaper articles and government documents that are linked to the book through the Internet.
There are “mini-biographies” of many of the people who populated the upper echelons of both the military and civilian worlds in the late 1940s. Those are interesting in and of themselves but some of them are irrelevant to understanding UFOs. To learn a little more about the men who were running things gives us an insight into the how and why of certain decisions were made but that doesn’t really help us understand the philosophy of the times.
There was a great deal of information about the use of deception during the Second World War. This included the use of faked divisions, rubber tanks and military vehicles, and radio traffic designed to convince the Germans that the coming invasion of France would be directed at the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy as but one example. This was designed to prove that militaries, including the United States, had successfully engaged in deception in recent history.
Second, and of little importance, are a number of small errors that do suggest a problem with the overall scholarship. Walter Haut is continually referred to as Warren Haught, the name that so many newspapers used for him. I’m not sure why this wasn’t picked up and corrected. It doesn’t seem that Carrion realized this.
In keeping with misnamed people, Carrion refers to Major Curtan and provides information about Major Eugene Curtain (page 204). But this is irrelevant because the man in Fort Worth was Major Edwin M. Kirton. The FBI didn’t bother to get the correct spelling of the man’s name. They just assumed it was spelled “Curtan.”
Third, there were other things. COMINT, which is jargon for communications intelligence is defined as code breaking. True, code breaking is part of the COMINT mission, but it goes far beyond that. It is monitoring of communications, the interception of those communications and study of them. There are many aspects to COMINT.
Fourth, is the constant suggestion that the men of the 509th Bomb Group were “handpicked.” There is no evidence that this is true, especially when we look at the unit rosters from the summer of 1947. Edwin Easley complained that his MPs were routinely rotated out of the group, to be replaced by others who now had to be trained in the procedures for handling the atomic weapons and secrets. There didn’t seem to be anyone handpicking them.
And there are assumptions that are not backed up by evidence. Often, we read about what the Soviet analysts would think about a flying saucer case, or how they would have interpreted certain information, but that is all speculation. At one point, Carrion wrote, “Astute Soviet intelligence analysts would have paid attention to the flying disc news reports quoting the anonymous Cal Tech physicist.” No documentation has been offered to prove that these assumptions are valid, and in some instances, we find them contradicted in later portions of the book.
Before we get too deep into the book, we are told, “…the flying saucer stories that proliferated in the summer of 1947 were part and parcel of a U.S. led strategic deception operation…that U.S. had amazing aerial technology… goals to stay Stalin’s hand from invading Europe, smoke out spies and to break Soviet codes…”
It is later in the book that we move back to the flying saucers beginning with an analysis of the motives behind the Kenneth Arnold sighting. This was one of those aerial deceptions that Carrion wrote about. Arnold, the man who launched the flying saucers, was lured into the area by a reward offered for finding the wreckage of a Marine aircraft that had crashed some months earlier, killing all aboard but that had not been located. The theory, according to Carrion, was that the military would be interested in the Pacific Northwest because this was the route that Soviet missiles would take during an attack. By providing an opportunity for someone, anyone, to see these radical new aircraft, in the Pacific Northwest, it would suggest to the Soviets that the U.S. capability was far superior than it actually was. This would prevent the Soviets from attacking Western Europe and by extension, the United States.
The flaw here is that the U.S. had nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union did not. This would seem to be the real deterrent and this aerial deception was unnecessary. If the U.S. could obliterate the Soviet Union with those atomic weapons, that would keep the Soviets in check, at least until they developed their own atomic arsenal. Mutually assured destruction would stay their hand at that point. Carrion suggested that we had few actual bombs and that convincing the Soviets that we had a delivery system that they could not defeat was the real purpose.
But what was it that Arnold saw that was so radical that he didn’t recognize it as terrestrially based aircraft? According to Carrion (page 84), “Perhaps Arnold was not familiar with the flying wing designs which were tailless, even though they were
not a military secret. Newspapers reported in May 1946 the test
flight of three N9M flying wings… and Northrop’s giant XB-35 winged bomber…”
The problems with this are many. Only four N9Ms were built. One crashed in 1946, two had been detailed to the Air Force for training and by June 1947, it seems that only one was flying. These were test aircraft and only about a third the size of the XB-35, so it is debatable that had there been nine of them and they might not have been visible at the distance reported by Arnold.
As for the larger XB-35, in June, according to the documentation, there were only two in existence. According to the PIO at MUFOC Army Air Field, “None of our flying wings has been in the air recently.”
This seems to negate the idea that Arnold saw something that was part of an aerial deception, which undermines the theory in the book. If it wasn’t an aerial deception, then what Arnold saw has another explanation. Carrion counters by saying that they might have been towing something, though it is difficult to believe that the inherently unstable XB-35 would be capable of towing anything.
Carrion tells us (page 114), that the deceivers had anticipated that the Arnold story would be a “flash in the pan,” so they began feeding new sightings to reporters, which, according to Carrion’s theory, culminated in the Roswell case. This seems to suggest they anticipated Roswell, or had planned it in advance. This would keep flying saucers in the news. But the day after the Roswell crash was reported, the news was that both the Army and the Navy had moved to suppress news stories about flying saucers. Rather than encouraging the proliferation of flying saucer tales, they were trying to keep the media from publishing more about them.
But more importantly, Carrion offers no documentation and no evidence that anyone was watching the flying saucers with an eye to keeping the story alive. No evidence that the Soviets were interested in it, or that the aerial deception had been created to suggest a superior aircraft. In fact, there are news reports and speculation that the flying saucers were “… a Soviet plot to create US panic.” This is a Soviet aerial deception.
Carrion, in writing about the Roswell crash, noted, as did some newspapers, that there had been a “blistering rebuke” (page 201) to the 509th subordinates for issuing the press release. Walter Haut, however, told me there had been no such rebuke. Maybe the press assumed it or maybe a spokesman said it, but those in Roswell were unaware of it. Karl Pflock, in his book (Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, page 290, reported that George Walsh had received a second call from Haut asking what he, Walsh, had done because he, Haut, had just received a call telling him to shut up. Of course, there is no documentation for
this either and it conflicts with
what Haut himself had said repeatedly.
|Walter Haut. Photo|
copyright by Kevin Randle
On that same page, Carrion wrote, “Something that didn’t smell right in this news article was the revelation that ‘not all the principals were satisfied with the announcement that the wreckage found on the New Mexico ranch was that of a weather balloon.’ Which principals? Making a baseless statement was borderline gaslighting the public.”
But the answer to that question is there in the newspapers. Mack Brazel, who found the original wreckage, was quoted as saying that he had found weather observation devices on two other occasions and this was nothing like those (Roswell Daily Record, July 9, 1947, page 1.)
Eventually we learn that “Lieutenant Warren Haught delivered two entirely different press releases to the local Associated Press and United Press outlets – a purposeful decision that will make sense later in the story.”
Which might be true if there were, in fact, two different press releases delivered to the media outlets in Roswell. Walter Haut told me that he wasn’t sure if he had, in fact, delivered the press releases in person. He might have read them over the telephone. Both George Walsh and Jud Roberts said that there was no hard copy of the release (and a news wire copy reported that the press release was verbal and not written). They received it over the telephone and since one of the recipients, Walsh worked for the AP and another, Frank Joyce, worked for the UP, it seems that this explains the subtle differences in the two. It was not some sort of clever deception to out spies or break codes but just the expected differences that would develop in the ways that the press release was distributed to the news wires and then published in the newspapers.
But there is a third version of the press release which, of course, suggests that Carrion’s claim is wrong. Haut provided the press release to the Roswell Daily Record. Their story is different than those reported by the UP and AP. In other words, rather than having been filtered through Walsh and Joyce, and then rewritten by editors at the two wire services and later by editors at the newspapers that reported it, the Roswell Daily Record had the information directly from Haut. They wrote their story based on what Haut told them and not what have been sent in to the wire services.
Carrion, however, suggests that this is unimportant how many press releases there were because all the key words were in both of them (A Different Perspective radio broadcast). That would allow for the code breaking operations to go forward… but, if there was actually no need for two or more releases, why even create them?
Later, we are told (page 248), “Bottom line being that Blanchard would never have unilaterally sent out the press release unless he was under orders to do so.”
A page later, Carrion wrote, “one question that has not been adequately answered however is who authorized the Roswell press release to be sent out. As it was highly unlikely that Colonel Blanchard pulled the trigger on this decision, UFO proponents shift the finger to SAC’s deputy Commanding General Clements McMullen.”
These are more bold statements that have no facts to back them up. Blanchard, as both the 509th and the base commander, certainly had the authority to send out the press release. He was not required to ask permission from his higher
headquarters. Notice that in one statement we are told he would never do
it and in the next that it was highly unlikely. We are not told who these UFO
|Colonel William Blanchard|
Without actually supplying any documentation that the Soviets were at all interested in the Roswell crash, and with the story not only printed in newspapers all around the country, it was killed within three hours. It was claimed they had a flying saucer and then it was nothing more than a weather balloon and you have to ask, would the Soviet spies inside the United States actually be interested enough in this tale, as it developed, to transmit to Moscow using a code? Why not just send the information in the clear, referencing all the newspaper articles about it? No reason to encode it. Send clippings out in a diplomatic pouch because, once the explanation had been offered, there was no urgency to get the information to the Soviet Union. Carrion suggested to me that Stalin wanted the information fast and that couriers and diplomatic pouches would take too long (A Different Perspective radio broadcast).
Having provided an explanation for the Roswell crash, that is an aerial deception to fool the Soviets and a way of providing hints about Soviet codes, Carrion moves back to Kenneth Arnold. This time, however, Arnold isn’t the witness, he is the investigator. Ray Palmer, a Chicago publisher, wanted Arnold to investigate the Maury Island UFO incident. This was a semi-flying saucer crash. It was more of an emergency landing, but it resulted in damage to a fishing boat, the death of a dog, and injuries to the son of one of the men on the boat.
Maury Island is a notorious hoax. The investigation into it indirectly resulted in the deaths of two Army Air Forces officers. The aircraft they had used to travel to meet with Arnold developed engine trouble. It crashed after the crew chief and a passenger parachuted to safety. The pilots were unable to bail out and died in the crash.
All of this, from the Arnold sighting to Arnold’s investigation into Maury Island is an unnecessary diversion. Palmer, who had printed stories called the Shaver Mystery in his science fiction magazine, saw Arnold’s sighting as a way of validating some of those science fiction tales. The Shaver Mystery suggested a race hidden inside the Earth was responsible for all the troubles we face on the surface. The flying saucers were manifestations of craft used by those hidden away. Since the Shaver Mystery had been presented as truth hiding in fiction, and because these stories had boosted his circulation amazingly, Palmer wanted more. If the flying saucers could be tied to Shaver, then that would be best.
Arnold was to investigate Maury Island, the sighting reported by Harold Dahl and Fred Crisman. It has become clear over the years that Maury Island was a story invented by Dahl and Crisman to capitalize on the flying saucer craze of the moment. But there was an earlier connection. In 1946, Crisman had sent a letter to Palmer’s magazine suggesting that while he, Crisman, served in the China-Burma-India Theater during the Second World War, he had found one of the hidden caves that lead into the inner Earth. He could corroborate some of the Shaver Mystery with his first-hand observations.
All of this, about Maury Island and landed flying saucers, would have been ignored, if not for mystery calls made to newspapers about Arnold’s investigation of Maury Island. It seemed that the caller knew everything that was going on in Arnold’s hotel room as he interviewed the witnesses and discussed the matter with Captain E. J. Smith of United Airlines who’d had his own flying saucer sighting a few days earlier. This greatly disturbed both Arnold and Smith, and at one point, they nearly torn the room apart looking for hidden microphones.
But there were no hidden microphones and although the mystery caller was never identified, it is clear that it was either Dahl or Crisman. (On A Different Perspective, Carrion suggests that it was David Johnson). Given the nature of Crisman, he was probably the one making the calls. He never provided information to which he had not been privy. To prove he was on the inside, he was able to give the names of the two officers killed in the plane crash before they had been publicly released, but only because he had met them that day in Arnold’s room. Dahl and Crisman had tried to give the Army Air Forces officers some of the recovered residue from the damaged saucer but both officers knew what it was and it wasn’t part of a flying saucer. This is contrary to what Carrion suggested. George Early, in UFO, laid all this out in a series published in October, 2010; January 2011, and finally in October 2011.
The one very interesting point that comes out in all of this is that a fellow, David Johnson, had a large role in keeping the flying saucers in the newspapers. He seemed to have inserted himself into all Maury Island investigation through Arnold. Johnson, according to Carrion, singlehandedly convinced another newspaper reporter to push the Maury Island story out, over the news wire. Johnson was in communication with Arnold and knew Arnold’s plans. Johnson and Arnold would later go flying in search of the flying saucers, and Johnson would have his own sighting. If there was an outsider, a ringleader in this grand deception on a local level, then David Johnson would be a prime candidate for that. As I say, this is an interesting point made in Carrion’s book and on A Different Perspective. That alone might be enough for us all to take notice of it.
The one name that doesn’t surface in the book is that of Colonel Howard McCoy. He was involved with the Foo Fighters during the Second World War, he investigated the Ghost Rockets over Scandinavia in 1946, and then was a part of the early investigations of the flying saucers. He was an intelligence officer who seemed to be on the inside of everything, which makes him a candidate for the Roswell deception.
But the real point here is that contrary to Carrion’s belief that this was part of the grand deception, Maury Island was nothing more than a hoax carried about by two men who did not have sterling reputations and a Chicago publisher who wanted to boost his science fiction magazine’s circulation. They offered nothing that would be of interest to anyone other than those who thought the Shaver Mystery is real. The perpetrator of this was not some government organization but a magazine publisher who wanted to validate the Shaver Mystery to keep his circulation high. In this case, it was for the money.
This review could go on for much longer with these sorts of revelations. The problem for Carrion is that while he supplies links to interesting documentation, he has nothing that proves his case. He does not supply the smoking gun but suggests this lack of evidence is proof of it. He wrote, “The ‘perfect deception’ is a classic example. It is out there somewhere, but like the perfect crime, it manifests itself only in results. It is difficult to prove, and harder to study because quite often the study would attack comfortable beliefs.” (page 214)
Which is a way of saying that it must be true because we can’t prove it. We can only look at the results, but the results are inferred from documentation and information that is sometimes vague and sometimes irrelevant. The foundation is very weak and nearly nonexistent.
Worse still is what Carrion wrote early in his book. “Unfortunately, no U.S. strategic deception operations since WW2 have been declassified so I cannot offer official smoking gun documents that confirm unequivocally that the U.S. perpetrated strategic deception in the year of 1947…”
Carrion does provide an interesting history of the paranoid world of 1947, of the espionage going on by the United States as intelligence officials read all telegraph messages leaving the United States in something known as Operation Shamrock which was exposed decades ago. But all that does not lead us to an aerial deception of the magnitude claimed, that was designed to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe, to keep them from launching missiles over the Pacific Northwest and to help break the codes being used by Soviet agents.
He wrote that he was supplying a theory that could be falsified. In this case, we can say that Arnold had not been fooled by flying wing aircraft as part of an aerial deception because there were not sufficient flying wing aircraft to form a flight of nine. Of course, it might have been some other aircraft, or flying wing aircraft towing something, but again, the evidence does not support such a claim.
We can say that the Roswell press release was not part of a purposeful deception because there were not two purposeful versions. There was the single version that Haut supplied over the telephone and any variation of that version is the result of the communication over the telephone, the notes taken by those who received the calls, and the stylistic differences between the two wire services. Besides, with the information about the crash out in the public arena, and identified within three hours as a weather balloon, there would be no reason for Soviet spies to send a coded message about anything even if they thought there was something important there. In other words, the two purposeful versions did not exist and the documentation and testimony bears out this conclusion.
We can look at the Maury Island affair as a hoax dreamed up by two men with the assistance of Ray Palmer. It was a ploy to validate the Shaver Mystery and not some conspiracy by a secret government agency to convince the Soviets that we had superior military aircraft. Arnold was not part of the deception. He was just a handy foil for those perpetrating the hoax.
But in the end, Carrion admits that he provides a lot of speculation but no real evidence. While he challenges us to “falsify” his theory, to do so, we need access to still classified records of this grand deception. The problem is, such records might not exist and might never have existed. We can’t falsify the theory by proving an alternative to it because we need those records to do so.
The book is interesting for those of us interested in the minutia of the time, and the theory is clever, but it fails without any sort of evidence. Speculation is fine, but in the end, there is nothing left… the foundation is built on quick sand and rapidly collapses without the support necessary to make the case. Read the book for the history of time, for the information about the cases on which it touches, but remember that the theory is not proved.