I want to commend James Carrion and Kevin Randle both for the gentlemanly manner in which they carry out this discussion and debate and how they do so in general. I apologize in advance if I fail to always follow their example in such a gracious way, and hope I can do as well.
Thank you to Kevin Randle for your interest in reposting my original draft article from the NICAP site, critiquing Carrion's Aug. 20, 2016, blogpost, and for doing so in a meticulously careful manner, including allowing me to update slightly to incorporate some small corrections and editorial improvements. I am putting major substantive material here (below) to reply to Carrion's rebuttal posted Aug. 25.
Carrion has some interesting and provocative ideas, which encompass a broader perspective of Cold War history than usually found in UFOlogical work, and should be applauded for his initiative. But unfortunately this latest work does not prove his case, in fact does not even make a prima facie (on its face) showing, i.e., one that appears to hold together at first glance. Carrion also needs to be more careful about asserting as "certain" what are merely speculations, inferences and hypotheses.
In dealing with this latest issue, the Goldbranson matter, we are necessarily leaving aside (for now) an extensive discussion of the bigger issue of how major UFO sightings at Muroc Field (future Edwards AFB) Flight Test Center and by White Sands rocket scientists, and the supersonic radar UFO's over Japan, can be explained by such a vast deception operation. Notice that for the visual sightings I am deliberately picking the highest-credibility, not lowest credibility, multiple-witness, not single-witness, daylight, not nighttime, sightings by actual rocket scientists (not a casual expression!) and test pilots (including the famed John Paul Stapp). Were they all just ordered to lie?
Carrion originally claimed that "Sometime prior to July, 1947 Goldbranson left for Washington to resume his deception duties but this time with Army Air Force [sic] and then the US Air Force." Carrion argued that according to the deception unit JSC's charter that it was an:
"Air Force [sic] full Colonel who would work in the Executive section and also pull double [sic] duty as a member of the JSC Special Section, the section specifically charged with deception planning and implementation. Air Force [sic] Colonel Carl E. Goldbranson would have been the officer to fill that billet."
But the FBI memo is a killer by putting Goldbranson in a completely different, wrong agency, in the intelligence branch of the Army, not the Army Air Forces. The FBI Liaison Agent S. Wesley Reynolds and his superiors knew the difference between the Army and the AAF and did not make mistakes confusing the two service branches' completely independent intelligence departments, which they dealt with on a daily basis. That's right on the face of it, on the face of the FBI memo, and Carrion didn't catch that until I brought it up.
So Carrion now changes his position and insists that Goldbranson was first with the Army in mid-1947 then later the Air Force, which does not mesh with the previous claims or with the JSC Charter or with his major source Thaddeus Holt (see more below). The Charter clearly and explicitly distinguished the "Army" from the "Army Air Forces" and did not try to slip the latter back into the former, as Carrion now tries to do in order to salvage his argument.
I am not convinced that Goldbranson was a full Colonel in the AAF just because he was a Colonel in the Iowa National Guard. It is essential to Carrion's original argument that Goldbranson be the AAF Colonel cross-assigned to the deception ops JSC Special Section which had only Army and Navy officers for staff, otherwise there would be no one there who could possibly be Goldbranson. In his rebuttal Carrion wants to have it both ways -- have Goldbranson as both an Army Colonel and an AAF Colonel in mid-1947 as recited by supremely well-informed Joint Chiefs of Staff and FBI officials who were careful to distinguish the two.
The JSC charter of May 1947 admits that the AAF was "not directly represented" on the deception ops Special Section and had to accept only the part-time service of the one AAF Colonel on the JSC Executive staff (charter p. 6). In fact, the deception ops section was subdivided into an "Army Special Section" and a "Navy Special Section" (charter pp. 1, 6, 7) with no corresponding AAF Special Section.
This latter fact raises another issue: If flying saucers were a fabrication of a grand deception operation planned for months and months should it not have had its very own AAF Special Section to carry out the planning and implementation of an aerial deception?
If Goldbranson was orchestrating a vast conspiracy to manufacture a nonexistent nationwide and global UFO flap he was surely a very busy man given that the AAF had only a single part-time officer assigned to deception ops (even assuming purely for sake of argument for the moment that Goldbranson was this very same AAF officer).
Carrion never answers my point that Goldbranson's request for FBI investigation is not a request for deception, it is an attempt to gather facts. He says he will cover that in his forthcoming book, the question of why there was a request for FBI investigation of Richard Shaver, and he concedes that my argument is "a good point and well taken."
Why not just find a document that tells us Goldbranson was the part-time AAF officer assigned to JSC Special Section (deception ops) and settle the matter? I am not saying I know one way or another what is the truth of the matter, but Carrion needs to make his case, not me to disprove his case. So far this is a case not even rising to the level of satisfactorily explaining contradictions right on the face of his proffered proof (the FBI memo of July 21, 1947, which states that Goldbranson was Army not AAF, in Army's Intelligence Division of WDGS).
A later, casual newsclipping calling Goldbranson a colonel is not proof, such social gossip column items often abbreviate Lt Col to Colonel for simplicity. As I said originally, Carrion must produce proof that Goldbranson was (a) a full AAF Colonel in July 1947 (b) serving in the AAF not, as the FBI reported, in the Army, (c) attached to the deception operations staff of the JSC, the Special Section.
Carrion's only source for asserting that Goldbranson continued his wartime deception work into the peacetime is author Thaddeus Holt, whom he claims proves that Goldbranson was a full Colonel in the AAF in 1947 doing deception work. But Holt is guessing too. Holt qualifies his assertion by saying that "evidently" Goldbranson continued deception work into peacetime until making AF Colonel rank by Dec 1948 (no mention of Army service in between!). As I say, Holt makes no mention of Goldbranson serving in the Army postwar then transferring to the new Air Force, which Carrion now just conveniently assumes without proof (and inconsistently).
Carrion now asserts in his rebuttal that it is "beyond doubt [sic!], based on Holt’s authority, ... that Goldbranson was engaged in deception." But Holt doesn't really know this for sure, and has to qualify this by saying "evidently." How can that be "beyond doubt"? Carrion should be more cautious and should be softening not hardening his position in the face of contradictory evidence. Bottom line, there is just no substitute for getting direct proof of Goldbranson's job in 1947, given the fact that the crucial FBI memo conflicts with it.
And even if Carrion does prove all this, it is not some great victory against all odds, but is something Carrion should have done in the first place before going public and declaring over-exuberantly that this is quote "proof" and "hard evidence" of US strategic deception orchestrating the UFO flap of 1947 into existence when it was really UFO chimera. This is a UFO flap that he claims was a strategic deception designed to fool the Soviets into believing we had a powerful new secret weapon, i.e., into believing we had such a weapon when we did not. All he has is a tantalizing lead for investigation, nothing more.
Carrion's rebuttal argument about dual job roles misses the point: I am well aware of the dual roles but Carrion is overlooking the crucial issues contained within the JSC (Joint Security Control) charter of May 1947 (by the way, James, nice work finding this gem of a document). The charter specifies full-time job assignments of actual working subordinate staff officers, who are not to be confused with the high-ranking Board Members of JSC such as military Directors of Intelligence like Gen. Chamberlin, who held various multi-titled roles. Obviously none of these multiple titles amounted to full-time work on top of Chamberlin's already full-time work as Army intelligence director.
The JSC deception unit's charter specifies that the Army Colonel on staff is detailed full-time from Army WDGS Intelligence Division. But the specified AAF Colonel is not described as a detailee from Army WDGS ID, which would be rather anomalous but could at least explain the FBI memo's attribution of Goldbranson's job assignment if in fact the charter had said that. But it doesn't.
Hence Carrion shoots himself in the foot when he now promotes speculation as certainty, stating that "it is certain [sic] that in July 1947 ... Goldbranson was with the [Army] War Department General Staff" when just a few days earlier in his original blogpost Carrion asserted with equal "certainty" that Goldbranson was with the AF or AAF in perpetrating the UFO deception plan.
Remember? Carrion had said Goldbranson was specifically the "Air Force [sic] full Colonel" specified in the JSC Charter, not the Army Colonel and not from the Army / War Department General Staff (WDGS). That it was "Air Force [sic] Colonel Carl E. Goldbranson [who] would have been the officer to fill" the deception staff assignment he needs for his UFO deception theory to work. And that "Sometime prior to July, 1947 Goldbranson left for Washington to resume his deception duties but this time with Army Air Force [sic] and then the US Air Force."
Again, the FBI memo says Goldbranson was from Army Intelligence Division, not AAF. This is a problem for Carrion's thesis. Again, he simply needs to directly prove Goldbranson was really serving on the JSC Special Section for deception ops, instead of making tenuous inferences.
Carrion misunderstands my point about the slackness of Goldbranson's, and the putative UFO deception op's, response to the Shaver matter given its supreme importance if a top deception officer had to take precious time out from his understaffed part-time assignment to push the FBI to investigate this crank Richard Shaver on the off-chance Shaver might know something about the "origin of flying saucers." And this was itself a mere assumption or question posed by Goldbranson, assuming if (another "if") Shaver was seemingly linked by location and insinuated possible foreknowledge of UFO activity 2 days in advance occurring supposedly near his home at Lily Lake, McHenry, Illinois (the sightings were of objects in fact no closer than about 30-40 miles from Shaver at Lily Lake).
And then there is an implied contradiction, because if (again a big "if") Goldbranson manufactured a phony UFO flap out of whole cloth in June 1947, wouldn't he already know for certainty that Shaver could not possibly know anything about the (ostensible) "true" strategic-deception "origin" of UFO's?
If anything, Goldbranson's request for FBI investigation of Shaver sounds more like a counterintelligence and security matter, not some sort of deception scheme. Goldbranson was wondering if an AAF flight had had an encounter with a UFO in some way linked to, or anticipated by, Shaver and thus might be some kind of threat to the AAF. If (a big "if") Goldbranson was on the JSC and if he was actually the AAF Lt Colonel and only serving in the JSC Security Section (counterintelligence included), not the deception section, then this would make some sense.
Carrion tries to make it seem as if the long delay in getting around to the FBI means that a lot of action was taking place and very early on. He seems to insinuate this unseen action in between all of those long days from one bureaucratic paperwork movement to the next. He insinuates that things were happening practically from the beginning of the dispatch of the anonymous (Ray Palmer?) telegram addressed directly to the AAF, on July 5, 1947, then the 4 days until July 9 when the AAF finally received the telegram (how long does it take to get a telegram??) or at least directed it properly to AAF Intelligence (to Col Robert Taylor III's and Lt Col George Garrett's AFBIR-CO division -- both of whom I interviewed many years ago). Then another 7-day delay until the Army's referral of the telegram to the FBI on July 16, and finally Goldbranson apparently phoning or visiting FBI Liaison Agent Reynold sometime on or between July 16 and 21, another 5 days.
This just does not seem like speedy action. And why do it at all if Goldbranson created the UFO and knew all about his own baby, his own creation?
Carrion's thesis is a classic unfalsifiable and untestable hypothesis. It is also, on the flip side of the coin, unprovable. "The moon is green cheese" is a hypothesis that can be proven or disproven by lab tests, spectra, etc., showing the moon is made of dirt and rock. "The moon is love" can be neither falsified or proven; it is immune to evidence, either supporting or contrary. This is a trap for the unwary. Carrion's theory is "The UFO is a lovely deception" and anything inconsistent with that notion is just part of the deception, or more of it. There is no set of contrary evidence for Carrion's scenario that cannot be explained away by a deeper "strategic deception." If Carrion denies that his thesis is rigged to be immune to disproof then he should state what conceivable evidence could ever disprove it.
My strong recommendation is that Carrion get peer reviews (or better peer reviews) before he posts exciting news like this without working out all the kinks, and certainly before publishing a full book. Let the private reviewers point out all the flaws so James can work on researching them before going public.
As I said before, Carrion needs to make a tighter, more logical case. I am willing to consider it and give it a fair hearing. I wish him well.