Friday, January 09, 2009

Jim Moseley, Saucer Smear and Me Part 2

Jim Moseley was annoyed at me for the recent posting I made and sent me a note correcting me about who had the oldest continuingly published 'zine. I that thought there was a British magazine that pre-dated Moseley and I was, of course, right about that.
Moseley has now sent me a note dated sometime after December 12, 2008, from Denis Plunkett that said, "Thank you for your letter of December 12th, 2008, which was welcome. Regarding your letter, I am pleased to inform you that, as we no longer publish a magazine, you therefore have the deserved title of 'the oldest UFO publication in the world.' Wishing you all the best for the New Year and beyond..."
So, you all now know that Moseley has the oldest publication, but he only recently gained the title.
Thought I would set the recrod straight and I'm sure someone will pass this along to him in the next few weeks.


RRRGroup said...


Records are being straightened all over the place.

Thanks....I think.


Bob Koford said...

Although I really can't add anything constructive on this, I have wanted to ask you if you would consider a future post dealing with LtC. Hector Quintanilla. I find him to be as much a mystery as the phenomena he was tasked to investigate.

In any case, all of your posts are informative, and I thank-you for the opportunity you have afforded to further attempt to grasp this difficult subject.

Autumn_Sky said...

Moseley's a tad touched. This is the sort of thing that he'd make fun of. But, not when it happens to him. lol

Alfred Lehmberg said...

Moseley has his index fingers stuffed to the knuckle in his nostrils and then complains that he can't smell things in a timely manner; certainly worthy of RR scurrying around like an officious rodent implying he keeps detailed files ship-shape and tidy like it's the eighth wonder of the archived world — a ufological library at Alexandria I've no _doubt_.

That said here's part of something I'm writing about H.Quintanilla, Sir, you may find interesting (its a draft so pardon any errors):

The proceeding is based on experienced conjecture, so I think it holds the necessary water...

I'm going to suggest something very uncomfortable. I mean no offense, and I'm otherwise loath to offend polite sensibilities (sincerely!) but I don't think that Hector Quintanilla is being considered through the proper filter of the times in which he lived. A proper filter puts a different spin on the validity of Quintanilla's testimony as regards the existence of UFOs, his criticism of Hynek, and his contribution to the history of ufology.

The times to which I refer were very heavily influenced by institutional racism, significantly unequal professional playing fields, and a speciously unfair cultural advantage of some members in the culture over others. By way of example, I once had a very white, blue-eyed Italian, West Point second lieutenant tell me in the late seventies, during a helicopter live fire exercise at an aerial gunnery range in Germany, that he'd been _mentored_ against expecting to be a General officer in the Armed Forces simply because his name ended in a VOWEL. This officer was even of some positive notoriety: he kicked the winning field goal in an Army/Navy grudge game...

Every year that one goes back in the history of the American Armed Forces, one discovers further retreat from the (comparative) egalitarian reality enjoyed today. This is forgetting that the Armed Forces lead the way to social reform (for pragmatic reasons... the military _has_ to work). This writer was a proud part of that reform, despite the
pragmatism... but I digress...

Speaking with some experience in the matter I'd suggest that a Latin (Mexican?) American of _any_ stripe (and wearing _any_ uniform) in the late 50's and early sixties of American society, was seen as a second class citizen by the contrived mainstream.
This is, in no way, to denigrate the performance, capability, and intelligence of Lt. Colonel Quintanilla, quite the contrary. That an individual of color operating in a "white capacity" of that time had to put out 150 percent of effort to maintain 75 percent of the consideration of that capacity is _small_ hyperbole!

An officer of color had to be more steadfast than steadfast. He (..._he_ exclusively, there _were_ no women, essentially) had to be more efficient than _merely_ efficient. An officer of color could be _too_ intelligent and innovative and become an embarrassment to inferior 'superior' officers. That officer of color had to be more loyal than staunchly loyal... and therein is found the root of his ironic invalidity as a ufological witness.

Heading up the latter Project Blue Book was not a choice assignment, by any means. It was a dead end at best – an opportunity where one had every occasion to piss off the brassy principals. At worst? It was likely seen as career death...

Quintanilla would not have volunteered for Blue Book - it would have been thrust upon him after a string of white officers "more capable" had found some way to weasel out. Quintanilla would have had no such weasel room. With his career at stake from the 'gitty-up' because of his ethnicity, he would follow his orders with a smile on his face and his resolute chin set. He would also try diligently to adhere to the party line. Quintanilla knew which way the wind blew. That he was where he was, at all, is stark evidence of that.

At the time, UFOs were evolving into a very "politically incorrect" line of inquiry. The mode of investigation had become slapdash and biased on the side of the resolute negativist prosecuting a narrow focused program of "reasonable" ufological denial. It was up to Quintanilla to prove that UFOs were a non issue that did _not_ warrant further "costly investigation." It fell to Quintanilla to get the fledgling Air Force out of the uncomfortable business of UFOs.

Privy to a bit more of the big picture than the rank and file citizen of the time and on direction of his suspiciously motivated superiors, Quintanilla would have prosecuted that
distorted picture with _rare_ diligence if he wanted to keep a position and rank so meaningful to him. He might swallow pride and he might even compromise ethical principles, but he would be able at the same time to rationalize his contribution as the performance of his assigned and implied duty, which it assuredly was. Quintanilla _is_ the innocent in all of this - a man under inordinate stress, and at the whim of his white ticket-puncher.

I've seen Quintanilla on black and white TV since I was a kid, testifying negatively on the subject of UFOs, and I always get the impression that he is stonewalling, effectively and believably, with some uneasy knowledge of the greater reality, but stonewalling none the less. Additionally, even as a kid growing up in a family not overtly racist, I idly wondered why they had given such an 'important' position to a 'Mexican'... ashamed to say, but I digress.

Quintanilla did not seem comfortable, at any rate, calling the suspected black cat, white... but he was just the man for the job. Nobody worked harder than Quintanilla did to achieve what he had achieved as a career officer. I imagine that he was not going to let something he didn't have the time or inclination to believe himself (alien space invaders!) torpedo his hopes and dreams and the hopes and dreams of his entire family, extended
and otherwise! He would testify the same to the end of his life from embarrassed _inertia_ or perhaps from a sense of historical consistency to facilitate the "National Security..."

No - before one takes Lt. Colonel Quintanilla's negative testimony to the contributory level of Ruppelt, Hynek, and Vallee (or even use Quintanilla to discredit the reputations of those three), one must filter him through those times when men of color had to provide ample and inordinate demonstration that they were predictable and dependable company men (squared or even cubed to revisit the earlier small hyperbole). One must also add to validity's equation how loath Quintanilla would understandably be to give up hard won gains for an ethereal no-win like UFOs.

At the end of the filtering and the reasonable addition of psychosocial baggage Quintanilla must have carried, one might begin to conclude that Quintanilla's contribution to the 'reasonable' dismissal of ufology had axes to grind that are difficult to talk about, consider, and finally accept. The racism and bigotry that Quintanilla undoubtedly experienced as an Airforce officer is enough to mask his feelings, cloud his judgment, and make his testimony less than reliable. Doing his duty, between the rock and the invariable hard place men of color were more subject too then, Hector Quintanilla was just another unrecognized and unappreciated victim of bigotry and racism that continues in a form not all that reduced from what it was then, today. He was a, I think reluctant, transmitter of mainstream propaganda, to wit: "We are, too, Alone..."

...So his testimony, in the unappreciated aggregate, may be questionable for reasons no one has ever considered before. He was not going to risk his career on a horse that was to be shot before it left the starting gate. It made much more sense to follow the lead of conflicted superiors, do his duty (even protect the national security), but parrot the accepted party line and qualify the usual propaganda he did not seem all that comfortable professing on black and white (but mostly white) TV.

cda said...

Was not Robert Friend, who preceded Quintanilla by a few years, also a man of color (Black not Hispanic)?

Also, I do not accept that it was Quintanilla who engineered the demise of Blue Book; rather it was the Condon Committee. It was their report in early 1969 which led to the termination of Blue Book.
You cannot bring Q in on that one.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

"Was not Robert Friend, who preceded Quintanilla by a few years, also a man of color (Black not Hispanic)?"

That's my understanding. Curious, eh?

"Also, I do not accept that it was Quintanilla who engineered the demise of Blue Book; rather it was the Condon Committee. It was their report in early 1969 which led to the termination of Blue Book. You cannot bring Q in on that one."

Please show me where I remotely implied that so I can be more clear in the future. Thanks.

cda said...

Your 11th paragraph (check the count) is the one that caught my eye. Where you say "It was up to Q to of UFOs".

It was not up to Q to prove anything, unless your point is that ALL Blue Book chiefs were cajoled into being negativists. Possibly.
The Condon Committee was ultimately responsible for the AF getting out of the UFO business.

Kevin may decide we have strayed too much from his original topic, so it is up to him whether it is worth pursuing Quintanilla's ideology.

What became of Q after Blue Book's closure anyway?

Bob Koford said...

Dr. Randle:

I feel guilty, as I didn't intend this to shoot off like this, even though, Mr. Lehmberg, the "partial" article on H.Q. is very interesting.

KRandle said...

All -

One of the purposes of this blog is to facilitate discussion which is why I sometimes hold off on new postings. I don't want to interrupt the flow of the conversation... which is a way to say that this diversion into the motives and motivations of the last of the Project Blue Book officers is fine. I was thinking of posting something more about it.

To Alfred, I would note that the destruction of Blue Book came about from many others in the Air Force. The documentation for it is quite clear and the purpose of the Condon Committee was to provide the Air Force with the out. The Hippler Letter for one thing proves this.

So, from my point of view, let the discussion fly. I do know that when I have attempted to take something "mainstream" it has killed the conversation and I don't what to do that here.

Alfred Lehmberg said...

I meant more that Quintanilla was the public face of a string of faces "authority" used to qualify the aggregate debunking engineered by that authority. I never meant to imply Quintanilla was the prime mover to obvert UFOs for the lay public, but it remains the Air Force went out of the UFO business on Quintanilla's watch, right?

It "fell to Quintanilla" to do his duty as it was laid out for him, so he was a tool among tools to achieve that end. He did his duty exceptionally well, finally, and saved his career from a pretty sticky situation.

I suspect, especially with Hynek and McDonald in the room, that the cognitive dissonances of his position relative to them was such that I wonder if there were health issues.

Bob Koford said...

Although, as I mentioned before, this is a very interesting piece you wrote, Mr. Lehmberg, I don't fully agree with its premise, but acknowledge it is well written, and worthy of note.

One reason I feel this way is because of LtC. Quintanilla's memoirs, which was put forth as a book idea. Its copyrite date is 1974, and instead of quoting from it, I will generalize.

Basically, he lays out the same beliefs in it that he held while being Blue Book's director. He quotes from all of the relevant reports (Condon, etc.). What fascinates me still is that he says things that are easily disputed now, with the UFO Program's files in the Archives.

For instance, he makes statements about there being no formal channels of reporting, other than his group. He also says things like there were few CIRVIS reports, or MERINT reports, which is not only false, the reports generated from 1951-through july 1952, at least, have distribution lists that include: Army G2 (with CIA in parenthesis next to it), ASA, ONI, and AFSA (Armed Forces Security Agency --now the NSA). These are not COMINT reports, they are serious UFO reports from pilots and radar operators.

In the book, he seems genuinely a skeptic, still. This to me illustrates the fact that he may have been un-aware of these reports.

And as for Friend, how could one forget his in-depth telling of the incidents of Navy Intelligence Officers "channeling" entities with names like: KRLLL (that's right, Bill Cooper was not the first to mention that name), which can be seen in the video documentary "UFOs - It Has Begun"?

I guess what I am saying is that the evidence points to a purposeful act of cover-up by Friend later, but a possible snow-job played on Quintanilla...which could also explain his consternation over the Zamora incident.

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