Thursday, August 10, 2017

Peter Robbins Explains His Take on Left at East Gate (Part Two)

(Blogger's Note: This is part two of Peter Robbins' discussion of his investigations into the Rendlesham Forest incident and provides some insight into what he believes about the case today. Unfortunately, the photographic exhibits did not translate to blogger.)

Peter Robbins
The reason I chose it was because to my untrained eye it appeared to be the crudest, most cut-and-paste-looking picture in the bunch. I even imagined, and wrote the same to you, that somehow Sacha and/or Dave had managed to create a fake FB screengrab of it. Remember? When you responded “pete the pict is real,” I was all but bowled over. It led me to revisit your earlier FB postings and find the photo where you’d posted it earlier in June. You deleted it not that long afterward. In response to your claims of the picture’s authenticity, I pulled up every single photo I had of you taken when you were 19 and 20, comparing them all to each other, then comparing them to ones taken years after, then compared each of the 19-20 year old Larry photos to the one allegedly taken Nov 28 1980 in New York City. Larry, there is no question that your face in that picture is broader and wider than any of the photos of you taken in 1980 and 1981. That broadening of the face is something that comes with age, and there is also no question that your hairline is receding in the Nov 28 picture, something that is definitely not happening in actual photos of you taken in 1980 and 1981.

Even so, I still did not want to believe you were responsible for creating the photo. In an attempt to exclude this possibility, I used Google’s ‘Reverse Image Search’ to see if I could rule out a similar, separate photo of John. Image Search works a lot like modern fingerprint search technology. You enter any photo ever taken, then search for it or the closest ones to it. If the picture appears anywhere on the internet, Image Search will find it. As it turned out a pair of pictures comes right up. They were taken seconds before or after the one you’re paired with John in, only they have a completely different background, and John’s mouth is as clear as the rest as the photograph and not with the mouth strangely smudged as in the one of you and John. Yours is a bogus photograph Larry yet you insist it’s not. Not good.

As I wrote to you in June, there is no way I will ever believe that you neglected or forgot to mention to me that 2 days before you flew from the States to England to begin your Air Force assignment there you met and were photographed with John Lennon in New York City.

Then that you expected me to believe you had withheld this fact from both me and from Left At East Gate because you were saving it for your next book? Yes, I know that you have met many famous and interesting people in your life, people who you do not mention in our book, but please, in the words of the great judge Judy, ‘Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.’ In my entire life I never met anyone – anyone - more interested or obsessed in John Lennon’s life, work, history, instruments, etc., then you, and that goes back to from when we first met. I do not believe, not for a moment, that given how heartfelt you were in writing up how John’s murder affected you, and how you and other guys attended the huge memorial that weekend in Liverpool, and that you never bothered to mention to me that you just happened to meet (and be photographed with) John Lennon in New York City the week before he was murdered? I get angrier just thinking about it. What I hated most about being lied to like this was just how insulting it was to my intelligence. But it wasn’t just to me of course. It was a lie to everyone who sees your posts. In doing so you ‘opened the door’ as they say, to the unwelcome reality of a permanent cloud of reasonable doubt hanging over other things you have said, maintained, or are otherwise on record with, and more’s the pity. In this case, if you had faked a photograph once, might you have done it another time? And if you would fake a photo, might you also fake something else? The answer sadly is yes on both counts and you and only you are responsible for creating the reasonable doubt that it springs from.

Then there’s the deeper question of what would drive a person to make such an outrageous claim? What is it that compels you to make others believe this had really happened to you? That if you had been there a week later… you would have taken a Mark Chapman bullet for him? Do you really need for people like Kate McKenna Lawler to write, “RIP John and so incredible you met him!” I’m at a loss here Larry and not being a mental health professional I don’t know how to deal with it. Nor do I want to deal with it. So what’s the big deal about a single, basically harmless untruth like this? Does it have anything whatsoever to do with Rendlesham/ Bentwaters? No, of course not. Does it have anything to do with my and others take on your basic honesty, ethics and trustworthiness? Yes, very much so.

In May 2016 you were increasingly on my case to drop Ronnie Dugdale as a friend. You made it abundantly clear that you were convinced he was our ‘enemy’ and never really been our friend and how he had turned on us, especially on you. As a result I wrote to him to get his side of things, and you know what? I thought he made a great case but dumped him anyway, something that I sure caused him real pain, which I know would have been fine with you. My main point is that I did it because I felt that loyal to you, because you wanted me to. On reflection, every falling out I’m aware of that you’ve had with someone you’d previously considered a friend seems to have been that person’s fault, never yours. So it was with (name of individuals). I used to just accept this but don’t any longer. Isn’t it just possible that you contributed something to the misunderstanding responsible for that friendship ending? According to you, you were innocent in each case and I find that harder and harder to believe in light of what these people have shared with me or otherwise made public. In the case of Ronnie, one of the things he did that I think infuriated you was something I should have done 25 years ago, that being (to) really check out and independently confirm the written account of your interview with Keith Beabey as it appears in Left At East Gate. In fact you altered the facts Larry. Not a lot. I think it was a matter of not feeling comfortable with some of the things you told him back then, but you changed (a) fact in our book to suit yourself. Does this, should this change people’s opinions about the great book we wrote together? Should readers, and should I, now wonder if maybe you changed some other little fact here or there? Unfortunately, definitely. Again, you opened the door to this line of questioning and my doubts have only grown stronger (than) ever since (realizing) you did.

In your msg from earlier this week, you tell me I should drop Alyson Dunlop and James Welch as FB friends. Again, in past I’ve done this in every instance you’ve asked me to, not necessarily to my credit, but almost always without even looking into what the person has allegedly done to warrant being dumped by you/us. But let’s talk about Alyson. And while we’re at it, what exactly is behind your battle with ‘Scottish ufology,’ the University of Glasgow, James Welch, etc., beginning at the beginning.

I met Alyson on FB about 2 years ago and was first a guest on her show in January 2015. She was a huge fan of ours and Left At East Gate and asked me if I would come on to talk about the incident and about our book. She asked great questions and the show went great with lots of listeners commenting on it. But with you being the one actually involved, she was even more interested in you being a guest on the show and asked me if I thought you’d be willing to appear on the show as well. I said yes, I certainly thought so. She then sent you a friend request and you two became friends on Facebook. Your interview with her also resulted in a kick-ass programme which she more than appreciated. It was during this time that she learned we had not spoken together on the same stage for more than 10 years, the result, that she made it her business to change that by convincing Malcolm, Ron, and other colleagues involved in the Society for Paranormal Investigation Scotland (SPI) that you and I should headline their 2016 conference. After all parties agreed she began the process of raising the hundreds of pounds necessary to bring us to Glasgow for the conference. It was going to be structured so that everything would build toward our presentation with us scheduled for the feature spot as the final presenters of the day.

Alyson was regularly attacked by Sacha and her buddies once she began her efforts in our behalf and began promoting the conference. How did she respond? By getting in Sacha & company’s collective faces every time they came at her, in fact spending months and months defending you at every turn, on her FB page and on the SPI’s Facebook page. If you go back and read her posts and responses it’s obvious she must have spent hours on some days doing little else but coming to your defence, praising your courage and contributions to the RFI and refuting Sacha every chance she got.

We then come to this past June. Up until just after the conference itself there had never been any negative statements, negative behavior, or negative comments about you from anyone in ‘Scottish ufology,’ not that I’m aware of or remember anyway, and I’m going back to 1987 here. But please correct me if I’m wrong. It was in June that Kellymarie McColl Beggs made the comment she did in direct response to Sacha’s being banned (by Alyson!) from the conference. The result of this was your telling Kellymarie that if she attended, that you would come down into the audience and rip her windpipe out through her spine. {Correction: Larry’s actual statement was that he would “..put your windpipe through your spine.” My error.} Maybe you consider comments like this MC/outlaw humor, but to the rest of us they constitute a genuine threat of physical violence, and that is not okay with me.

I don’t know Larry. Perhaps you’ve just gotten so used to routinely threatening people’s health, safety and lives that you no longer consider the impact your words really have on others. I know that I have completely had it with your physical threats against people. No one else I have ever known (ever) resorts to them as often and as routinely as you do. When Kellymarie made the University of Glasgow aware of your threat to her, they responded by banning you from speaking on campus, and this is where you began spinning things. As far as I’m concerned the school did the absolutely correct thing. They weren’t being wusses in taking your threat seriously. They certainly don’t know you or that you never make good on your threats, at least that I’m aware of. All they did was what any responsible school should do in the face of a stated threat of violence on university grounds, end of story.

With respect my friend, when you shot that brief video with Tino, it should have featured an apology to Alyson, Malcolm, Ron, and the other folks who volunteered their time to make this event a reality, not to mention the audience members who paid their money, at least in part, for the historic chance of hearing us speak together again. Instead, you set out to make it seem that others were at fault for your not speaking, not you, and that’s a lousy way to treat people who had nothing but goodwill and respect toward you.

Your recent post, “this bitch needs to be run out.........just sayin,” only makes me feel more disgusted with your attitude toward a woman who never meant you any harm. Just the opposite, not until you gave her cause to anyway. Yes, you genuinely do have a problem with Alyson, James, and other members of ‘Scottish ufology’ now, but a problem that you singlehandedly created on your own and are 100% responsible for.

And a little about James Francis Welch who you have also asked me to unfriend. Prior to your infuriating him by unfriending him as one of many in your purge of FB friends who happened to have any FB friend who is on your enemies list, he was one of your {the word “your” should have read “our” here} hugest fans in all of Scotland. It is sad to me that you have become so rage-filled and defensive that you are unable to tolerate anyone (maybe with the exception of me, thus far anyway) having anyone you don’t approve of among their FB friends. Often such friendships are meaningless or dormant, but they have to be non-existent in your book. True, your dumping James turned him into an attack dog overnight, and over the top in some respects, but you are 100% responsible for turning him from a major supporter into a major critic, no one else. Your rage and paranoia can be contagious in such a situation.

And speaking about paranoia, were you even remotely serious in your August post: “16 hr delay....due to a bomb threat against the flight.just found out ?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. makes one wonder..trolls n all.” I am sure as I can be that you did not tell people or note on Facebook what your flight to Toronto was or what airline you were flying, did you? So how could anyone have made such a threat? And do you honestly think, even for a moment, that if one of your haters did have your flight information, they would actually be willing to risk a major felony or even terrorism charge just to delay your flight? If so please think again. The Larry Warren I used to know would never have even considered it. But ‘Old Laz’? He’s something else again.

I could go on Larry, but do I really need to? I would never have believed it, not even as recently as early this summer, but you have blown your credibility with me. Correction. You have blown enough of your credibility with me that I do not know what to trust and what not to trust anymore when it comes to your statements, opinions, beliefs or stances. This is so not where I saw our relationship being after 29 years and I need to separate myself from you and get on with my life.
I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. I hope you know I wish you well, but also stand by all I’ve said here. With respect, this has got to stop.

This is Larry Warren’s copy of USAF In-processing Sheet for personnel entering the 81st Security Police Squadron at RAF Bentwaters. It appears on page 446 of Left At East Gate and is self-explanatory. Note that Sgt. Swain has signed off on it, twice, and with two different pens. I have never confirmed this with Sgt. Swain, but while other men named Lee spell their name that way, he spells it ‘Lea,’ twice, even though ‘Lee’ appears clearly typed below the first signature. Cutting Larry Warren every latitude possible, I guess there is a chance that this Lee is the one-in, what? A thousand? Fifty thousand? Who spells ‘Lea, but if not, Lee misspelled his own name, twice, and with two different pens. I think this is damning. Why didn’t I follow up on it twenty five years ago? Because I believed Larry and rationalized that Sargent Swain did spell his name with an ‘a,’ and that the typed word ‘Lee’ was simply an understandable bureaucratic typo. I was obviously not the investigative writer I wanted to be back then. Highly suspicious? Yes. Smoking gun? Not quite.

 The document below however is damning, and the only piece of Warren’s original paperwork loaned to me that I can confirm with certainty. USAF form 490 is a light blue five by seven card whose purpose is to confirm a medical or dental appointment. In this case confirming, or seemingly confirming that Larry had an appointment to have his eyes checked at the clinic located at (fairly) nearby RAF Lakenheath. You can find it on page 451 of our book. A memorable part of his account of his involvement on the third night of UFO activity was that his eyes began to bother him immediately after the incident he claims to, and may in fact have been involved in. If only because of some of the outright lies I caught him in last year I will never again be able to take him at his word again on anything that is not 100% fully documented.

The problem that exists here is both massive and undeniable. There is no question that there was only one Dr. Echols serving at that clinic at that time. It was he who signed off on Larry’s form 490 and would have written the explosive comment, “OPTI/RET BURN/EXP - optical retinal burn exposure, caused by the brilliant flash of light that Larry has always maintained immediately preceded the appearance of the craft in the farmer’s field known as Capel Green. I think I have brought this impressive ‘fact’ to the attention of others in interviews, talks, radio broadcasts, and conversations on several hundred occasions. Unfortunately, if Larry was there, this piece of paper should be given no weight whatsoever in backing up his assertion.

Dr. Paul Echols was (and remains) a doctor of orthopedic surgery, not an ophthalmologist or eye doctor. Note: Orthopedics is the medical specialty concerned with correction of deformities or functional impairments of the skeletal system, especially the extremities and the spine, and associated structures such as muscles and ligaments. The only reason Dr. Echols might have been assigned to examine this patient would have been if his eyes had been attached to his spine or other bony structure rather than set in his face. Either the writing on this card is a complete forgery, or that selective parts of it have been altered. It makes no difference. Only one conclusion can be drawn here and it involves both outright forgery and intentional deception. It also establishes for me beyond any doubt that Larry Warren intended to deceive me from the very start, even if it had only had been with this one damning document, and that’s being kind.

Some of you may feel that the sanctity of the contents of a ‘private FB message’ is as inviable as the confessional. But when it comes down to allowing this madness to continue on and on, I am not one of them. For months I tried in every way I could think of to resolve this situation privately with Larry via FB messaging, only to have him stand firm in reiterating proven falsehoods, double down on them, or go silent on me when pushed too hard. I also attempted to do the same via back channels of sorts with no more success than I’d had in dealing directly with him. There is only one result I am interested in producing now and, it is that this madness must stop, and stop now. I resent the fact that I am likely the only person with a chance of doing so. I have far better things to do with my time that spend these valuable hours slugging it out in an ongoing battle of words. However I also realize I have a responsibility to do so, even if the only solution I can think of may seem draconian to some.

There are many straws that have contributed to breaking this camel’s back, but the final one, that point of absolutely no return, was Warren’s daring to even suggest that I might have been responsible for alterations to some of his military paperwork, or that I have been under the influence of the ‘Larry haters’ all along, but in doing so he made a terrible miscalculation. The one and only person responsible for this response to his outrageous behavior is Larry Warren, despite what he insists on, imagines, or may even have come to believe.
And something new for you to consider. This by me from the updated 2005 edition of Left At East Gate, page xxii-xxiii:

Publication of the book sparked a surprising amount of mail, and as anticipated, included letters from some of the men we’d named. I was both glad and relieved that none had written to correct or criticize our characterizations of them. On the contrary, each of the letters confirmed key points of my co-author’s account, some even offering details and particulars that were new to us. Excerpts from  half a dozen follow, the originals being in Larry’s possession. They begin with an excerpt from a letter that Mark Thompson sent to Larry.  Mark, a former 81st Security Police Specialist (SPS), had been assigned to D Flight along with then-Airman Warren. Mark is mentioned on page 141:

“Its real, it happened to us, and we will never forget it. Your book brought it all back for me. … (How) Halt can put it all into a little box is beyond me. He should take at least some responsibility for helping to keep the lid on the thing! Oh sure, he talks about what he saw but what about the hell we went through afterward. Thanks for fighting for us Larry, I’m grateful. Now maybe we can all get a good night sleep.”

From Steve LaPlume, another former Security Police Specialist assigned to D Flight and referred to on nine of these pages:

Larry, I asked your publishers to forward this to you. 17 years blew by quick – I tried to forget the UFO, but Left At East Gate brought it all back! How can Halt play it down – you were there and so was I. We got debriefed after and some guys like you got f**ked over later for asking too many questions – I remember that Navy guy saying that “Bullets are cheap.” The difference between us I guess is that I believed him. … People died after this for God sake. Maybe they were right when they told us that civilians were not ready for this yet. I will try to get in touch with other witnesses and let them know about East Gate.”

I never saw any of the actual letters, though that did not bother me at the time; I was just relieved that none of the men who’d allegedly written did so to criticize, condemn or deny how they had been characterized in the book. When I first agreed to write this book with Larry it was understood that I would be organizing all of the material that would go into it, but he did agree to my request that all of drafts of his chapters would be given to me on floppy discs and double spaced to make editing easier. He had no problem agreeing to this request and made a point of telling me that he was a fast typist. But when I received the first draft from him of his first chapter, it was handwritten on lined yellow legal paper and single spaced.

When I reminded him of our agreement he told me he couldn’t afford a typewriter and did not have a computer, and despite the extra work it put on me, every chapter that followed was written out in longhand on those pads. So it did not surprise me when the contents of the relevant letters he had received were given to me, not in the form of the emails or original letters, but written out in his handwriting on lined yellow paper as usual. This took place within a few months at most after our book had charted as a bestseller in the UK and once again I saw no reason that I should insist on seeing the originals. What was I thinking? That he might find such a request insulting. Again, the thought that he might have overtly and intentionally lied to me about this or anything else in writing the book was simply something I never considered.

Jump ahead to about four years ago. I was speaking at a conference in Leominster Massachusetts, the hometown of Steve LaPlume who we quote above. Steve and I had become friends years earlier via emails during a period of years when he was living in China. For whatever reason, Larry has stated that he and I are not friends, but nothing could be further from the truth. When he and his wife came to visit New York City with their two daughters some years after that I spent part of the time with them which deepened our friendship. As you might imagine, I was happy to learn that he had agreed to speak at the conference that was going to be held in his hometown. He had only given one previous talk about his USAF UFO experience and that had been in 1984. His talk was extremely personal and particularly moving at times, especially as there were people in the audience who had known him growing up there, including his sister, a retired police officer as I recall. It was at that time I gave Steve a copy of Left At East Gate as a gift.

While pleased, I think, Steve, who functions under an extremely high code of personal honor, told me that in the interest of fairness, he would read it, but only after RAF Bentwaters former Deputy Base Commander Charles I. Halt’s book was published so that he could read them at about the same time. I appreciated his decision and that was the end of it.

A few weeks later I received an extremely curt and angry email from Steve LaPlume that shocked me. In it he told me that he’d decided to read just the updates part as it appeared in the front of the book, and, well, what the heck. But as he explained, when he got to the inclusion about him, he was furious. So much so that he did not want to speak with me again and as far as he was concerned our friendship was done. Why? Because he had never sent Larry any letter following our book publication and had never written the quote attribute to him.

I was shocked, embarrassed and confused all at once. Larry had certainly approved the quotation in draft form prior to the updates edition going into print so I couldn’t understand what had happened. Things between us were icy for a brief period of time, but then he was big enough to forgive me, though still wary of how this could have occurred. Then I had a brainstorm and called him. There had been two Steve L’s in the Security Police with Larry on Bentwaters, Steve LaPlume and Steve Longero. Despite the fact that Larry’s handwritten version of Steve’s letter said LaPlume and not Longero, both Larry and I are dyslexic and one way or another this was obviously the cause of the confusion, somehow. That is, until I phoned Steve Longero, a Facebook friend of mine over a year ago to confirm that it had been he who had written Larry the letter. There was no question in my mind that he would confirm the fact (I mean, how could he not?).

When he immediately answered that he had also never written to Larry I knew I had a big problem but have not said anything about it until now. Steve LaPlume and Steve Longero are very real people and can confirm the above, though Steve LaPlume has made it more than clear to me that he never wants to have anything to do with the Rendlesham Forest incident or Larry Warren again.

I realize now as the daylight floods into my window that I am not going to be able to address other important and significant points here, but will do so beginning next month when I’m back home, though on the air rather than writing. This will include as full a response as possible to the things he has said about me on Emlyn-Jones radio show last month. His even daring to suggest that if anyone altered any of his military documents it might be me as I had them for years. This is the closest thing I have ever had to an “I know it was you Fredo” moment in my life and made me realize the depth of his willingness to do anything or say anything to get himself such a sharp hook. In any event, I expect this long statement will catapult me to the top of Larry’s enemies list and he will continue to rail away at me and anyone else who brings some of the discrepancies in his account to light.

In Larry’s world, nothing, as in nothing bad that has ever happened to him is ever his fault, a fantasy assertion that I did not wake up to until it was too late. In his world, everyone is out to get him, to discredit him, and make him look bad. He is responsible for none of it.
But taken all together, it is still not that simple to dismiss Larry from the events in question. As he notes in his May 29 Interview with Ben Emlyn-Jones, the soil analysis I had conducted on the samples drawn from the specific site he identified when we first visited there have revealed truly anomalous results. But as I stated earlier when addressing myself to Gary Heseltine, the important question is not what he says that is in fact true, its what he says and has written that is not true – regarding Rendlesham, and regarding his dealings in the rock & roll memorabilia business.

An example, and one of a disturbing number. Not long after we began working together, I introduced him to my friend the singer, the late, great Phoebe Snow, who in turn introduced him to May Pang. May had been John Lennon's girlfriend during a split with Yoko Ono in 1974. I most clearly remember his returning to my East 46th Street apartment after saying he had just visited with May and that she had given him a pair of John’s eyeglasses as well as an Army issue shirt that had also belonged to the legendary rock star. I handled them both and was happy for Larry whose admiration for and obsession with Lennon was deeper than anyone I had ever known.

Years later when Larry put up a pair of eyeglasses for auction that he claimed had belonged to John, along with a questionable letter of provenance which he said had been written by Ms. Pang, she responded thusly:

““I basically knew him {Larry Warren} for a couple of months. I would never give or sell him anything of John’s. He never met John as far as I know. I met him in 1988. I had to authenticate my handwriting to Sotherby’s when a friend discovered a pair of glasses sold with a “provenance letter” from me. My friend to the guy immediately in charge and said it isn’t May’s handwriting. They called me immediately and they had to take the glasses off the market. It was being sold for $20,000 at the time”
May Pang, August 16, 2016

Regarding Larry’s thinking that the book we wrote together is his, it is not. It is ours. Nick Pope's suggestion that it be taken out of print because it is filled with lies enraged him and didn’t make me any too happy either. While it is of course built around his story, or, again, his ‘story,’ I was the one who did the majority of actual day-to-day, year-to-year work that turned it into a reality. But any decision to end Left At East Gate’s twenty year-long production run has nothing to do with what Larry, or Nick, or I want. In 2005 Larry Warren and I signed a contract with Cosimo Press, a small print-on-demand publishing company in New York City. As usual in this industry, the publishers get the lion’s share of the revenues, but at least I know these people are honest with their authors unlike our original publishers. The actual person who heads Cosimo truly believed in our book and was happy to add the title to his company’s roster. Our royalties don’t amount to that much each year, but for me it has remained a point of pride to know that it remains in print. I’m sure that Larry would never dream of informing our publisher of any of the matters touched upon here, but he more than most people not only has a right to know what has been going on – it would be completely immoral not to do so, the unhappy job of which of course falls to me. If he, after reading this, which he most certainly will, then decides to drop the title, Larry will only have himself to blame for it, but like all else, he will blame it on someone else, like me for example.

As far as I am concerned my former coauthor has taken me for the ride of my life and it is nearing the time for me to get off the bus. Yes, I cannot discount and will not discount that he has also told the truth about certain things, but he seems incapable and unwilling to admit that he has ever done anything wrong or untruthful and I expect will continue to do so for the rest of his life. If you want to continue fighting this battle for him you are welcome to it. To those of you who have allowed your lives to be consumed by rage and hatred toward him for the more than understandable reasons he has given you, you need to get on with your lives. Remaining fixated on this obsession is like digesting poison every morning and has the potential of making you into what you hate about him. No one wins when that happens.

As far as I am concerned some of you owe each other apologies and need to understand that you are the only ones who can end this. . I know I owe apologies to more people than I can even count. I do however appreciate more, and more than I can say, the incredible number of people who have written, texted or called me in the past weeks and months to let me know that they stand with me. More than anything else right now I need to turn my attention to more life-positive things, finish packing, and do my best at the two upcoming conferences I next speak at. I also need to take a break from the social network for the next few weeks and try and begin to get my life back. I know most of you understand.

Peter Robbins
Ithaca, NY

June 12, 2017

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