How the CIA Tried to Quell UFO Panic During the Cold War

How the CIA Tried to Quell UFO Panic During the Cold War


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In January 1953, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency had a thorny situation on its hands. Reports of UFO sightings were mushrooming around the country. Press accounts were fanning public fascination—and concern. So the CIA convened a group of scientists to investigate whether these unknown phenomena in the sky represented a national security threat.

But there was something else.

At a time when growing Cold War anxiety about the Soviets ranged from psychological warfare to wholesale nuclear annihilation, the U.S. government worried about the prospect of a growing national hysteria. In the previous year, UFOs had begun to figure prominently in the public conversation. In April 1952, the popular magazine LIFE published a story titled “Have We Visitors from Space?” that promised to offer “scientific evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary saucers.” In July that year, newspaper headlines around the country blared reports of flying saucers swarming Washington, D.C. Between March and June that year, the number of UFO sightings officially reported to the U.S. Air Force jumped from 23 to 148. Given all the attention UFOs were getting, the CIA decided it needed a “national policy” for “what should be told the public regarding the phenomenon, in order to minimize risk of panic,” according to government documents.

READ MORE: In 1952, 'Flying Saucers' Over Washington Sent the National Press into a Frenzy

The Robertson report: The real enemy is hysteria

To this end, the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence collaborated with Howard Percy Robertson, a professor of mathematical physics at the California Institute of Technology, to gather a panel of nonmilitary scientists. The Robertson panel met for a few days in January 1953 to review Air Force records about UFO sightings going back to 1947.

Project Blue Book, which had started in 1952, was the latest iteration of the Air Force’s UFO investigative teams. After interviewing project members Captain Edward J. Ruppelt and astronomer J. Allen Hynek, the panel concluded that many sightings Blue Book had tracked were, in fact, explainable. For example, after reviewing film taken of a UFO sighting near Great Falls, Montana on August 15, 1950, the panel concluded what the film actually showed was sunlight reflecting off the surface of two Air Force interceptor jets.

The panel did actually see a potential threat related to this phenomena—but it wasn’t saucers and little green men.

“It was the public itself,” says John Greenewald, Jr., founder of The Black Vault, an online archive of government documents. There was a concern “that the general public, with their panic and hysteria, could overwhelm the resources of the U.S. government” in a time of crisis.

The CIA also seems to have feared foreign interference, says Nick Pope, who worked for the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s UFO program from 1991 to 1994—specifically, that “the Soviets would find a way to use the huge level of public interest in UFOs to somehow manipulate, to cause panic; which then could be used to undermine national cohesiveness.” The Robertson report—which the CIA didn’t release publicly until 1975—hints at this, suggesting “mass hysteria” over UFOs could lead to “greater vulnerability to possible enemy psychological warfare.”

READ MORE: Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government

Teaching the public to be less ‘gullible’

To address these potential vulnerabilities, the panel suggested education programs to debunk UFO sightings and teach the public how to identify certain phenomena. Scientists on the panel suggested teaching people with articles, TV shows and movies—even proposing that the Walt Disney corporation could help produce them. “Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and…their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda,” the report noted.

Did the government actually implement such programs? Leslie Kean, author of UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record, points to one likely example: a television special put on by Walter Cronkite in 1966…called “UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy?”

“We have a record that one of the people on the Robertson panel wrote a letter to another person who was on the Robertson panel,” says Kean, “and said…that he, quote, ‘helped organize the CBS TV show around the Robertson panel conclusions.’” Just as the panel had suggested, the program focused on debunking UFO sightings.

READ MORE: UFO Stories

The Condon report: Were its findings a foregone conclusion?

Between 1966 and 1968, the government called for another, lengthier scientific inquiry into Project Blue Book led by physicist Edward U. Condon. Though the CIA had some involvement with the Condon Committee, it was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force and conducted by scientists at the University of Colorado, and its report was immediately available to the public. Like the Robertson panel, it concluded UFOs posed no threat to the U.S., and that most sightings could be easily explained. In addition, it suggested that the Air Force end Project Blue Book’s investigations into UFOs—which it did in 1969.

Many people who study UFO sightings have suggested that the government never really allowed the Robertson panel, the Condon Committee or even Project Blue Book to review the most sensitive UFO sightings, incidents that may have contained classified information. One of the main pieces of evidence for this is a 1969 memo signed by Brigadier General Carroll H. Bolender suggesting the Air Force hadn’t shared all UFO sightings with Project Blue Book and would continue to investigate sightings that could present a national security threat after the project ended. (Today, the Navy tracks sightings of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs.).

Critics have also suggested that the real goal of the Robertson panel, the Condon Committee and/or Project Blue Book was never to identify what was really going on with UFO sightings, but simply to assuage public concern about them.

If true, this would not necessarily mean the government had information about extraterrestrials it wanted to conceal. In some cases, the government may have been trying to cover up its own activities. Since Project Blue Book’s end, the CIA has admitted that more than half of the UFO reports the government received in the late 1950s and into the ‘60s were related to secret U-2 and OXCART spy flights by the U.S. government.

Because the government didn’t want the public to know about these clandestine flights, members of Project Blue Book would often “explain away such sightings by linking them to natural phenomena such as ice crystals and temperature inversions,” writes Gerald K. Haines, a historian for the CIA’s National Reconnaissance Office. In 2014, the CIA smugly tweeted about the ruse: “Remember reports of unusual activity in the skies in the ‘50s? That was us.”

WATCH: Full episodes of Project Blue Book online now.


UFO Facts and a Solution to the Energy CrisisTestimony of 60 Government & Military Witnesses

This 10-page summary of witness testimony on UFO facts is taken from the book Disclosure, compiled by Steven M. Greer, MD. Page numbers from the book for each excerpt are given at the end of each statement. These testimonies were taken verbatim from video interviews with the witnesses, which include astronauts, generals, admirals, and other top government and military officials. For a two-page summary of these UFO facts, click here.

Disclosure Project, Founder & Director, Editor of Disclosure, Steven M. Greer, MD

Advanced spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin have been downed, retrieved and studied since at least the 1940s. Significant technological breakthroughs in energy generation and propulsion have resulted from the study of these objects. We have insiders and scientists who can prove that we do in fact possess energy generation systems capable of completely and permanently replacing all forms of currently used energy generation and transportation systems. The witnesses who have given testimony are extraordinarily brave men and women who have taken great personal risks in coming forward. Some have been threatened and intimidated. Not a single one of them has been paid for his or her testimony. Classified, above top-secret projects possess new energy generation systems that, if put into peaceful uses, would empower a new human civilization without want, poverty, or environmental damage. Every single person who is concerned about the environment and the human future should call for urgent hearings to allow these technologies to be disclosed, declassified and safely applied. pp. 5, 13 - 15. See Dr. Greer's website at siriusdisclosure.com.

Apollo 14 Astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, Ph.D., sixth man to walk on moon

Yes, there have been ET visitations. There have been crashed craft. There have been material and bodies recovered. There has been a certain amount of reverse engineering that has allowed some of these craft, or some components, to be duplicated. And there is some group of people that may or may not be associated with government at this point, but certainly were at one time, that have this knowledge. They have been attempting to conceal this knowledge or not permit it to be widely disseminated. . People in high level government have very, very little, if any, valid information about this. Most have no more knowledge than the man in the street. . [As to] the question, "How could it be kept secret?" It hasn't been kept secret. It's been there all along. But it has been the subject of disinformation in order to deflect attention and create confusion so the truth doesn't come out. . I believe it is a very important effort that we get Congressional oversight of all this. pp. 61-64. See also The Way of the Explorer, Edgar Mitchell and Dwight Williams, p. 212. More here.

US Navy Pilot, Lieutenant Frederick Fox

There is a publication called JANAP 146E that had a section that says you will not reveal any information regarding the UFO phenomenon under penalty of $10,000 fine and ten years in jail. I never reported anything to FAA or the military. A lot of pilots just did not want to get involved in this because of peer pressure and ridicule. So the secret has been kept. pp. 45, 146. More here.

Director of CIA, Vice Admiral R.H. Hillenkoetter

It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel. p. 58, from New York Times, February 28, 1960, p. L30. Click here to see original archived article and how to order it direct from the Times.

Deputy Chief of the Belgian Royal Air Force, General Wilfred de Brouwer

The Air Force has arrived [at] the conclusion that a number of anomalous phenomena have been produced within Belgian airspace. Not a single trace of aggressiveness has been signaled. p. 60.

Vatican Theologian, Insider Close to the Pope, Monsignor Corrado Balducci

We can't anymore deny that something is happening here in this field of ufology. Not just flying saucers, but there might be actual people, beings, extraterrestrial beings. p. 64. More here.

FAA Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations, John Callahan

This particular incident started with a phone call from the people in Alaska. . I said, "What's the problem?" He said, "Well, it's that UFO. The UFO was bouncing around the 747 here." . They brought in three people from the FBI, three people from the CIA, and three people form Reagan's scientific study team. Well, I've been involved in a lot of cover-ups with the FAA. When we gave the presentation to the Reagan staff, they had all those people swear that this never happened. But they never had me swear it never happened. . For those people who say that if these UFOs existed, they would some day be on radar and that there'd be professionals who would see it, then I can tell them that back in 1986, there were enough professional people that saw it. What I can tell you is what I've seen with my own eyes. I've got a videotape. I've got the voice tape. And I've got the reports that were filed that will confirm what I've been telling you. pp. 79-85. For more, click here.

At Edwards Air Force Base I was having some of the cameramen film precision landings. A saucer flew right over them, put down three landing gears, and landed out on the dry lakebed. They went out with their cameras towards the UFO. It lifted off and flew off at a very high rate of speed. . I had a chance to hold it [the film] up to the window to look at it. Good close-up shots. There was no doubt in my mind that it was made someplace other than on this earth. . In my opinion they were worried it would panic the public if they knew that someone had vehicles that had this kind of performance. So they started telling lies about it. Then I think they had to cover it with another lie. Now they don't know how to get out of it. pp. 225 - 229. See also Gordon Cooper & Bruce Henderson, Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey into the Unknown, pp. 80 - 91, 194 - 200. More here.

US Air Force, Sergeant Chuck Sorrells

In those days [1965], every base had what they called a UFO officer. p. 98. For more, click here.

US Air Force, Sergeant Michael W. Smith

I was on the radar, and NORAD called me and informed me that there was a UFO coming up the California coast. I said, "What do you want me to do?" And they said, "Nothing. Just watch it. Don't write it down." I believe the technology they [secret projects based on UFO technology] have could enable us to stop burning our fossil fuels and stop the damage to the ozone. p. 45, 109. More here.

US Navy, Commander Graham Bethune

[The UFO] was very large. It came up to 10,000 feet like that &ndash a fraction of a second. I thought it was going to go right through us. So I disengaged the autopilot, pushed the nose over, because I was going to go under it at the angle that it was coming toward me. . We were not supposed to tell even our wives of our encounter. . My boss told me that they had a craft back there, and they did have ET bodies. Now he's not the first one that ever told me that. p. 113, 117, 118. More here.

Mexico City Senior Air Traffic Controller, Enrique Kolbeck

When you have the view of the airspace and the radar screen [and] you see the UFOs go around twenty or thirty miles a second &ndash that is very real. They can turn suddenly almost 90 degrees in a second or half a second. The UFOs can go vertically straight up very quickly. p. 129.

NASA Research Scientist (Gemini, Apollo, Skylab), Dr. Richard Haines

Air Catalogue is a rather extensive library I've been collecting for almost 30 years from commercial, private, and test pilots. I have over 3,000 cases. My estimate is that for every pilot who does come forward, and makes a confidential or a public report, there are 20, 30 other pilots who don't. p. 131. For more, click here

US Army, Sergeant Stephen Lovekin (Brigadier General in North Carolina State Guard)

One afternoon when we were just about ready to finish up training, Colonel Holomon brought out a piece of what appeared to be metallic debris. He went on to explain that this was material that had come from a New Mexico crash in 1947 of an extraterrestrial craft, and that was discussed at length. . I got an opportunity to travel with the President [Eisenhower]. He was very, very interested in the shapes and sizes of the UFOs and what made them go. . But what happened was that Eisenhower got sold out. He realized that he was losing control of the UFO subject. He realized that the phenomenon was not going to be in the best hands. That was a real concern. . It had been discussed with me on numerous occasions what could happen to me militarily if I discussed this. Threats have been made and carried out. This [UFOs] being the biggest security situation that this country has ever dealt with, there have been some erasures. . He said, "You will be erased &ndash disappear." Those threats have been made and carried out. Those threats started way back in 1947. They will go after not only you, they will go after your family. pp. 33, 230-237.

US Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Dwynne Arneson

I was a top secret control officer. I happened to see a classified message go through my com [communications] center which said, "A UFO has crashed on the Island of Spitsbergen, Norway, and a team of scientists are coming to investigate it." p. 176. For more, click here.

US Navy, National Security Agency, James Kopf

The UFO incident occurred on the USS John F. Kennedy in the summer of 1971. We observed a large, glowing sphere over the ship. It looked huge. I would say it was anywhere from three or four hundred feet to a quarter of a mile depending on how high it was. A few days later, the Commanding Officer looked at the camera &ndash and I will never forget this &ndash and he said, "I would like to remind the crew that certain events that take place on board a major combat vessel are considered classified and should not be discussed with anyone without a need to know." p. 203.

US Navy Atlantic Command, Merle Shane McDow

We had contact with an unidentified flying object that had entered our air space. The order was given by Admiral Trane to get this object forced down out of the sky if at all possible, by whatever means possible. . Two gentlemen began to question me about this event. They were being pretty rough. I remember literally putting my hands up and saying, "Wait a minute fellows. I'm on your side." My logbook, I never did see that again. pp. 241 - 244. For more, click here.

Canadian Transport Department, Senior Radio Engineer, Wilbur Smith

Flying saucers exist. The matter is the most highly classified subject in the US Government, rating higher even than the H-bomb. p. 272.To see this memo, click here. For an astounding essay on hyper-dimensional physic written by Smith, click here.

Marine Corps, Lance Corporal Jonathan Weygandt

It was buried in the side of a cliff. When I first saw it, I was scared. It [was] real strange. I think the creatures calmed me. It was weird. I think they were trying to communicate with me, like, I guess, telepathically. It is really weird, and I don't believe in any of that stuff. [Immediately after this] I was arrested. I thought they were going to kill me. He was saying, "Are you a patriot? Do you like the Constitution?" I'm like, "Yeah." He said, "We are on our own program. We don't obey. We just do what we want." And he said, "You have got to sign these papers. You never saw this. I don't exist. And if you tell anybody, you will just come up missing." pp. 275 - 277. For more, click here.

Air Force Intelligence Officer, Major George A. Filer III

I was met by the head of the command post. He was very specific about the fact that an alien from outer space had been shot at Fort Dix, and that he had run away after being wounded, and headed for McGuire. . One interesting thing is that many of the key personnel on the base at that time who had a connection with the event were quickly transferred &ndash from the wing commander on down &ndash indicating that if you knew something, they tended to split you up, so you couldn't talk about it. . At times I used to carry nuclear weapons. In other words, I was mentally fit to carry nuclear weapons, but I'm not mentally fit if I see a UFO. This criticism and this ridicule have done more to keep the story [from] coming out than almost anything else. pp. 284 - 288. For more, click here. See also Major Filer's website at http://www.nationalufocenter.com .

British Ministry of Defense, Nick Pope

I was posted to a division called Secretariat Air Staff. My duties there were to research and investigate the UFO phenomenon for the UK government. There have been a steady stream of good-quality cases which I think would convince any open-minded observer who actually looked at the data, that there was something here which went significantly farther than just lights in the sky. I've made no secret of the fact that I believe some of these UFOs may well be of extraterrestrial origin. pp. 289 - 296. See also Mr. Pope's website at www.nickpope.net

United Kingdom Chief of Defense (1971 - 73), Admiral Lord Peter Hill-Norton

I have frequently been asked why a person of my background &ndash a former Chief of the Defense Staff, a former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee &ndash why I think there is a cover-up of the facts about UFOs. Governments fear that if they did disclose those facts, people would panic. I don't believe that at all. There is a serious possibility that we are being visited &ndash and have been visited for many years &ndash by people from outer space, from other civilizations. It behooves us to find out who they are, where they come from, and what they want. This should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation, and not the subject of rubbishing by tabloid newspapers. pp. 305-307. See also Lord Hill-Norton, Forward to Timothy Good's Above Top Secret. For more, click here.

US Air Force Security Officer, Larry Warren

They said, "We are going to show you a film that might help you put into perspective what you gentlemen have witnessed." They ran the film. The best clip on it showed the berets of the Fifth Special Forces in Vietnam with low scrub brush and a guy with a camera. He turns the camera and this giant, green, delta-shaped thing rises out of the brush very slowly and deliberately, below where they are, up to face level. Shrubbery and brush is falling off this massive thing. I'll never forget that in my life! . The only reason I have my records is because I was advised to steal some of them by an Air Force Colonel, because he said they would vaporize you. pp. 316 &ndash 320. More here.

US Army, Sergeant Clifford Stone

Can any government keep secrets, let alone the US Government? The answer is unequivocally yes. The National Reconnaissance Office remained secret for many, many years. The mere existence of the NSA remained secret. The development of the atomic weapon remained secret until once you exploded one. I had classified documents the Air Force acknowledged. When I got members of Congress to help me open up more files, they were immediately destroyed, and I can prove this. I have been at locations where there were craft that did not originate on the face of this planet. While I was there, we saw living and dead bodies of entities that were not born on this planet. . They are not hostile toward us. We are the enemy in this instance. It is not a scary story. The ETs have a perception of God. They are living, breathing creatures as mortal as you and me. They have families. They think, they have loves, they haves likes, they have dislikes, they have social culture. If we do not grow spiritually, we are forcing the situation where the entities will eventually make themselves known. . Not more than two dozen UFOs had been retrieved by 1969 when I was briefed first. . The entity was a little bigger than the 3, 3 1/2 foot tall entities that are a lot of times reported. I looked right into the eyes of this little creature. And you know, it's like you are seeing it, but everything is being pulled from your mind. He was reading my whole life. It is hard to describe what I really felt there &ndash your life up to that point goes by in seconds. And I mean you were feeling everything. pp. 327 &ndash 337. For more, click here. For a video interview, click here.

US Air Force, Sergeant Karl Wolfe

We walked over to one side of the lab and he said, "By the way, we've discovered a base on the backside of the moon." I was a little terrified, thinking to myself that if anybody walks in the room right now, I know we're in jeopardy because he shouldn't be giving me this information. Then he pulled out one of these mosaics and showed this base on the moon which had geometric shapes &ndash there were towers, there were spherical buildings, and things that looked somewhat like radar dishes, but they were very large structures. I didn't want to look at it any longer than that, because I felt that my life was in jeopardy. pp. 415 - 418. More here. For a video interview, click here.

Defense Intelligence Agency, Military Intelligence Analyst, John Maynard

I said, "Now this is supposed to be a system that tracks radar anomalies on Earth, right?" He says, "Yep, that's what it does." So I ask, "Then why are half of them pointed toward outer space, towards the moon, towards areas that are just blank space? What are they looking for?" He says, "You've got to have a need to know to know about that." . We go back to a comment made by one of the astronauts when he stepped on the moon. It was the day after they got there. And he says, "You're right, they're already here." It got out on the airwaves. I know several people who recorded it. It was quickly taken out of all tapes that were public broadcast. pp. 424 &ndash 427. For more, click here.

NASA, Department of Energy, Harland Bentley

I was in a facility in California doing classified work. Our astronauts were doing a loop around the moon. I heard them say they had a bogey coming in at 11:00. It was another type of ship. There were portals there that they could see in. They could see beings of some sort. They just took photographs. After a few thousand miles, they took off from the capsule and went away. This happened before the lunar landing. This event was unedited because of where I was. p. 431. For more, click here.

McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Engineer, Dr. Robert Wood

I had access to special libraries, so we could go up to the library that the Air Force ran and sort of paw through top-secret material. Since I was interested in UFOs, I'd look to see what they had. For about a year, I was getting quite a few hits. Then, all of a sudden, the whole subject material vanished. The entire classification for the subject just vanished. pp. 434 - 435. See also Dr. Wood's website at www.majesticdocuments.com .

Stanford Research Institute, Senior Policy Analyst, Dr. Alfred Webre

I worked on the 1977 Carter White House Extraterrestrial Communication Project. It called for creation of central and regional databases under independent control on UFOs and EBEs &ndash that is Extraterrestrial Biological Entities. The full management staff and the research institute had signed off knowingly on the proposal. . I flew back from my meeting with the White House, at which this final approval had been given. And when I arrived back at my offices at SRI (Stanford Research Institute), I was called back into the office of the senior SRI official. The project was to be terminated. They had received direct communication from the Pentagon that if the study went forward, SRI's contracts would be terminated. These contracts were a substantial part of SRI's business at the time. The senior Pentagon liaison stated that the project was terminated because, "There are no UFOs." Here we have a President of the United States who came to office under a pledge to open up the UFO issue, and an open study in the White House, and that was squelched. pp. 441 &ndash 446. See also Dr. Webre's website at http://www.exopolitics.com.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Secretary, Denise McKenzie

Sophia Hoffer asked me to come work at SAIC. I came in and there wasn't any paperwork to fill out. She just said, "You have the job." I didn't even know what department it was. These supervisors were playing games on their computer. There was nothing on their desks. A supervisor gave me letters to respond to. He said, "Oh, you know, just put a letter together and send it off." I opened up the files and even the letters that were in there were backdated several years saying the same exact form letter. It was talking about sometimes millions of dollars in contracts. It looked like there had never been any activity on it. That struck me as very odd. Sophia was in the position of one of the head scientists, which I thought was interesting, because I had met her working at a fabric store. They were getting a lot of money for doing nothing, and I didn't know where the money was going. Later, I put her last name in a computer to do a search. It took me to this DEA site. There was a picture of her with a different first name, same last name. But this was the deceased site for DEA or CIA agents. I was shocked. This person is supposed to have been dead for years. pp. 451 &ndash 455.

Roswell Army Air Base Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Walter Haut

The story I put out was very simple. We had in our possession a flying saucer. It was found on a ranch up north of Roswell. It was being flown to General Ramey's office. The information was given to me, almost verbatim, by Colonel Blanchard. He said, "I want you to give it to the local newspapers and radio stations, and do it post haste". The cover-up was pretty well orchestrated. I think the thought of handling it that way came down from Washington, through channels. We were told that we were all wrong, that it was just a weather balloon. p. 478. More here.

UFO MESSAGE: DON'T MESS WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS

US Air Force, FAA, Captain Robert Salas

My security guard says, "Sir, there's a glowing red object hovering right outside the front gate &ndash I'm looking at it right now. I've got all the men out here with their weapons drawn." . The nuclear-tipped warheads went into a "no-go" condition, meaning they could not be launched. We lost anywhere from between 16 to 18 ICBMs at the same time UFOs were in the area and were observed by airmen. Bob Kominski headed up the organization to look at all aspects of these shutdowns. He was told by his boss that the Air Force said, "Stop the investigation. Do no more on this, and do not write a final report." This is very unusual, especially in light of the fact that headquarters was stating that this was of extreme importance. pp. 168-171. For more, click here. And for Capt. Salas' personal research into the incident, click here.

US Air Force Lieutenant, Professor Robert Jacobs

So this thing [UFO] fires a beam of light at the warhead, hits it, and then it moves to the other side and fires another beam of light, and then moves again and fires another beam, and another. And the warhead tumbles out of space. What message would I interpret from this? Don't mess with nuclear warheads. . After an article [about the incident], I would get telephone calls all night long. People would call and start screaming at me. One night somebody blew up my mailbox. pp. 184, 185, 187. For more, click here.

US Air Force, Atomic Energy Commission, Colonel Ross Dedrickson

We were getting reports of visits by UFOs over the storage facilities and even some of the manufacturing facilities. That went on continuously. We found that formal reports were few and far between. Security people were reluctant to report because of the protocol and the bureaucracy involved in reporting them. . I learned about incidents involving nuclear weapons. Among these incidents were those where a couple of nuclear weapons that were sent into space were destroyed by the extraterrestrials. There was one incident when we exploded a nuclear weapon over the Pacific in '61, I believe. This was one that the extraterrestrials were really concerned about because it affected our ionosphere. In either the very end of the '70s or the early '80s, we attempted to put a nuclear weapon on the moon and explode it for scientific measurements. [This] was not acceptable to the extraterrestrials. They destroyed the weapon as it went toward the moon. The idea of any explosion of a nuclear weapon in space by any Earth government was not acceptable to the extraterrestrials. That has been demonstrated over and over. p. 191-193. For more, click here.

COVER-UP: ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES FROM UFOS

US Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Brown

We had objects with four-way confirmation &ndash ground visual, ground radar, airborne visual, airborne radar. It doesn't get any better than that! In my following of unusual aerial phenomena for the past 50 years, there seems to be some reason to discredit very viable and very reputable witnesses when they say something is unidentified. . By humidifying air, I was getting 20 to 30% improvement in efficiency over a car engine. I started selling these devices. The Federal Trade Commission performed an illegal act. I lost my vehicle, about $100,000 worth of equipment, and a test vehicle was stolen. So in three weeks, psychologically I was wiped out. pp. 247 - 251. More here.

Russian Space Communications Center, Major General Vasily Alexeyev

As a rule, [places where UFOs appear] are objects of strategic significance &ndash rocket complexes, scientific test establishments &ndash in other words, there is a high concentration of advanced science and to some degree danger. I know that in some places they even learned to create a situation which would deliberately provoke the appearance of a UFO. . They came up with a table with pictures of all the shapes of UFOs that had ever been recorded &ndash about fifty &ndash ranging from ellipses and spheres to something resembling spaceships. . The study of UFOs may reveal some new forms of energy to us, or at least bring us closer to a solution. pp. 345 &ndash 347. More here.

US Air Force, NRO (National Reconnaissance Office), Master Sergeant Dan Morris

Eisenhower wanted somebody to be in charge. The CIA was working primarily for itself. Most of the military intelligence directors were working for themselves. . So, it was organized, but the name of the NRO was kept secret for years. . The National Security Agency &ndash the killers work in that. Secretary of Defense Forestall was the first powerful person that was eliminated because he was going to release information [on UFOs] &ndash and nobody has ever paid for that crime. . Who was stationed at Roswell? The only nuclear bomb squadron in the world. We focused several powerful radars on the UFOs, and it caused two of them to crash. One of them had two aliens on it. One of them was wounded or hurt, the other was alive then, but before we could get him anywhere, he had passed on. . I would interview people who claimed they had seen something, and try to convince them they hadn't, or that they were hallucinating. If that didn't work, another team would give all the threats &ndash threaten them and their family. They would be in charge of discrediting them, making them look foolish. Now, if that didn't work, there was another team that put an end to that problem, one way or another. . UFOs are both extraterrestrial and manmade. . Even back in Tesla's time, we had free energy. It's not that our government doesn't want us to know that there are other people on other planets. What they don't want us to know is that this free energy is available to everybody. That's the greatest secret. So secrecy about the UFOs is because of the energy issue. Some would like for us to believe that the aliens are our enemy now. There's no proof that I have ever read in any official document where &ndash unless they were attacked &ndash they ever shot. We don't have a threat from Russia anymore, but if we keep shooting at those aliens, we might have a threat from them. We should demand that our government stop trying to shoot down those aliens. pp. 358 - 366.

US Air Force, Lockheed Skunkworks Engineer, Don Phillips

These UFOs were huge. They would just come to a stop and do a 60 degree, 45 degree, 10 degree turn, and then immediately reverse this action. . During the Apollo landing, Neil Armstrong says, "They're here. They are right over there and look at the size of those ships. And, it is obvious they don't like us being here." . When I was working with the Skunkworks, we signed an agreement with the National Security Agency and the National Security Council, as well as the CIA. And we kept very quiet about this. Anti-gravitational research was going. . We know that there were some captured craft from 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico. And, yeah, they were real. And, yes, we really did get some technology from them. And, yes, we really did put it to work. . We knew each other from what we call unseen industry. We can term it black, deep black, or hidden. The knowledge I have of these technologies came from the craft that were captured here. I didn't see the craft, nor did I see the bodies. But I certainly know some of the people that did. There was no question that there are peoples, or beings, from outside the planet. Are these ET people hostile? Well, if they were hostile, with their weaponry they could have destroyed us a long time ago. . We got these things that are handheld scanners that scan the body and determine what the condition is. We can also treat from the same scanner. Are these things real? Well, I can tell you personally that we've been working on them. And we have ones that can cure cancer. Yes, diagnose and cure. Politics, and God bless them, the FDA, and other people whose financial interests could be damaged by the release of certain technologies keep these out of view. . One of the purposes for founding this technology corporation that I did in 1998 was to bring forth these technologies that can help get rid of the toxins &ndash that can clean the air, that help get rid of the need for so much fossil fuel. Yes, it is time. I can tell you personally that it has already started. pp. 375 &ndash 383. For more, click here.

US Marine Corps, Captain Bill Uhouse

The simulator wasn't actually functional until around 1958. The simulator that they used was for the extraterrestrial craft they had, which is a 30-meter one that crashed in Kingman, Arizona, back in 1953 or 1952. I was inside the actual alien craft for a start-up. Over the last 40 years or so, not counting simulators &ndash I'm talking about actual craft &ndash there are probably two or three dozen, and various sizes that we built. pp. 384 &ndash 387.

US Air Force, Aerospace Illustrator, Mark McCandlish

This craft was what they called the Alien Reproduction Vehicle. It was also nicknamed the Flux Liner. This antigravity propulsion system &ndash this flying saucer &ndash was one of three that were in this hangar at Norton Air Force Base. We have found a patent filed by James King Jr., and this patent looks just like this system, except that instead of having a dome for a crew compartment, it has a cylinder in the center. It has the same flat bottom and sloping sides. The patent was filed initially in 1960 and was secured in 1967. . There is a scientist in Utah by the name of Moray B. King &ndash he wrote a book called Tapping the Zero Point Energy . Zero-point energy is actually what keeps the electrons energized around the atomic structure of everything in the universe. There's enough of this flux, this electrical charge in the nothingness of space, that if you could capture all the energy that was embedded in just a cubic yard of space, you'd have enough energy to boil the oceans of the entire world. pp. 501, 508. For more, click here.

US Army, National Security Council, Colonel Philip J. Corso, Sr.

I went back and there were five crates. I lifted one up and here's this body floating in fluid. First, I thought it was a child because it was small. Then I looked at its head and all. The head was different. The arms were thin. The body was gray. So right at that moment I figured I don't know what this thing is. . The one ET craft I saw was at one of the airbases. . General Trudeau created the Foreign Technology Division and put me in charge of it. There I started getting the autopsy reports of ETs, and I started getting other crash reports and the artifacts from the crashes. . We gave information about the ET technologies out and insisted the corporations take the patents. We put the integrated circuit out. The general said, "let's keep a secret, but when I die, I relieve you of my oath." pp. 459 &ndash 462. See also The Day After Roswell, by Col. Philip J. Corso.

McDonnell-Douglas, Professor of Aeronautical Engineering, Dr. Paul Czysz

When I was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, we had flying saucers that covered the distance from Columbus to Detroit in the equivalent of about 20,000 miles per hour. . Zero-point energy represents about 40-50 megawatts of power per cubic inch of space. That's a lot of power. If you could tap it at will, then no one would have to sell gasoline or oil anymore. . Depending on the secrecy level, you have to go through a significant background check. When you do that, if you're in a very tight compartment, you sign a statement that you will not divulge the existence of the project or even answer a question that could acknowledge the existence of the project. I know people today that worked on one of the things I worked on, and if you asked them about it, they would say, "No, I have no idea what you're talking about." They're in their seventies now, but they still absolutely would never admit that they even know what you're talking about. pp. 511 &ndash 519. More here.

US Army, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas E. Bearden

Some of the breakthroughs in the past have been deliberately suppressed. T. Henry Moray was inspired by Tesla's work. There was absolutely no question that he had a system that produced 50 kilowatts out of a 55-pound box. There are all kinds of skullduggery that happened there. The Russians even tried to kidnap him at one time. Gabriel Crone invented a true negative resister, working on a Navy contract for Stanford University. He was never permitted to reveal the exact way that he constructed it. There is real stuff in cold fusion. 600 experiments worked, for goodness sake. Probably 50 inventors have invented free energy systems. . What we have is a situation where the entire structure of science, industry, and the organizations of science and the patent office are against you. I've been a victim of quite a bit of suppression. So has any other legitimate researcher in the area. And behind this, we have a few people who are quite wealthy and who own these things. The more powerful the agency, the more they will resort not only to legal, but to extra-legal means to suppress their competition. Lethal force is used. And it is not one cartel. It is many, many groups in energy. And each one does not wish to see simple little electrical taps pulling out enormous energy from the vacuum. They would much rather see you burning a lot more oil. If we use this system where we extract energy from the vacuum, we can clean up this biosphere. pp. 534 &ndash 542. For more, click here. See also Dr. Bearden's website at www.cheniere.org .

MIT Chief Science Writer, Dr. Eugene Mallove

I was the Chief Science Writer at the MIT news office when the cold fusion story out of Utah broke on March 23, 1989. It turns out the cold fusion effect was real. One day while at MIT, I inadvertently was looking through some piles of paper by physicists doing their repeat of the Pons-Fleischmann experiment. To my utter astonishment, I can remember sitting at my desk and actually seeing two sheets of paper, one dated July 10 and another July 13. The July 10 control experiment showed in the raw data excess heat. But then, on July 13, it was shifted completely. It was altered. Clear fraud &ndash no question. I asked for a review at MIT. I got nowhere. Yet today, MIT data is held up. In fact, what Pons and Fleischmann found was only the tip of an iceberg. There are huge quantities of technical literature published by proponents, and a much smaller amount by the people who found so-called negative results. There has been an extraordinary abrogation of legal responsibility at the Patent Office and the Department of Energy on the matter of cold fusion. There is serious criminal activity going on that ultimately must be rooted out if the cold fusion and new energy revolution are to go forward. pp. 544-546. See the late Dr. Mallove's website www.infinite-energy.com .

THE GRAND WAR PLAN: IT'S ALL BASED ON A LIE

Fairchild Industries Corporate Manager, Von Braun Spokesperson, Dr. Carol Rosin

When Wernher Von Braun [father of modern rocket science] was dying of cancer [1974], he asked me to be his spokesperson. Von Braun actually told me that the reasons for space-based weaponry that were going to be given &ndash the enemies that we were going to identify &ndash were all based on a lie. He said the strategy that was being used to educate the public and decision makers was to use scare tactics that first the Russians are going to be considered the enemy. Then terrorists would be identified. Then we were going to identify third-world "crazies." We now call them Nations of Concern. The next enemy was asteroids &ndash against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons. And over and over during the four years that I knew him and was giving speeches for him, he would bring up the last card. "And remember, Carol, the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens, and all of it is a lie." He would not tell me the details. I am not sure I would have absorbed them if he had told me the details, or even believed him in 1974. . In 1977, I was at a meeting in Fairchild Industries in a conference room called the War Room. . They continued the conversation about how they were going to antagonize these enemies and at some point, there was going to be a war in the Gulf, a Gulf War. Now this is 1977! pp. 255 - 259. For more, click here. See also Dr. Rosin's website, www.peaceinspace.com .

Steven M. Greer, M.D., Founder and Director, Disclosure Project

The government &ndash as you and I might think of it &ndash is really quite outside the loop. Indeed the situation is so dire that senior Joint Chiefs of Staff leaders in the Pentagon who I have briefed have no more access to such projects than any other civilian &ndash unless they are on the "inside" for some reason. We have found that the technologies to replace fossil fuel usage already exist and need to be exploited and applied immediately to avert a serious global economic, geopolitical, and environmental crisis in the not-so-distant future. As daunting a disclosure may be, with all its potential for short-term instability and change, continued secrecy means that we will destroy the earth through our folly and greed. We do not have 50 more years &ndash the earth's ecosystem will collapse before then. There are no easy choices. But there is one right one. Will you help us make it? pp. 567, 491, 570. See also Dr. Greer's website at www.siriusdisclosure.com.

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THE UFO CHRONICLES

UFO phenomenon. I kept this very personal secret hidden from public view for decades because I understood that to openly admit it would negatively impact my reputation as a reliable nuts-and-bolts investigator of UFO incursions at nuclear weapons sites during the Cold War era.

For example, although CNN live-streamed my September 27, 2010 press conference in Washington D.C.—during which seven U.S. Air Force veterans discussed witnessing UFO-related incidents at ICBM sites and nukes storage depots—the cable network would have undoubtedly declined to cover the event if I had candidly mentioned my apparent alien abductee-status in the press release that I sent out beforehand. (Or if I had mentioned that two of the veterans, Bob Salas and another individual whom I won’t identify, are experiencers as well.)

Most of us know that the media’s now-heightened interest in the UFO phenomenon is a relatively recent and rare development resulting from revelations in 2017, concerning the existence of a secret US Department of Defense UFO project at the Pentagon—the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or AATIP—and the related release of three videos of unidentified, ultra-sophisticated aerial craft encountered by US Navy pilots in 2004 and 2015. Consequently, serious, in-depth media coverage of the UFO/UAP subject is steadily becoming the rule rather than the exception. Even so, the alien abduction topic is still decidedly taboo for most journalists, as it is among the great majority of the American public, and is likely to be treated by the media with extreme skepticism and even outright derision.

Therefore, I believe that the History channel’s Unidentified series is to be commended for devoting at least one episode to the abduction phenomenon, even though they stumbled badly by not challenging Dr. Clancy’s deceptive, erroneous remarks regarding the specific cases covered in the show. Allow me to explain.

When I was invited to participate in the program, the producers asked me to suggest a few US Air Force veterans they might interview—persons who had already openly acknowledged having had alien entity-related experiences, who might also be willing to appear in the Extraterrestrial Encounters episode. So, I recommended that they approach former missile security policeman Mario Woods, retired ICBM-handling specialist Jeff Goodrich , and former Minuteman missile launch officer Bob Salas—all of whom are featured in Confession. For reasons known only to the producers, Salas did not appear in the show, even though he was interviewed at length by former AATIP director and Unidentified consultant Luis “Lue” Elizondo earlier this year.

Fortunately, Woods and Goodrich were allowed to present their entity encounter narratives in a fairly straightforward manner, although certain key elements in their stories were oddly omitted by the producers. This was true regarding my own account as well. Comparing notes following the program, it seemed to the three of us that a deliberate decision had been made to avoid mentioning aspects of our experiences that would have strengthened our argument that we had actually been physically confronted by alien beings and that our recollections of the events were not, therefore, merely based on false memories resulting from hypnosis, as Elizondo and Clancy speculated on camera.

In other words, the two men independently experienced the same apparently telepathic message emanating from the approaching diminutive figures. Although Woods described this readily-remembered aspect of his encounter to the Unidentified producers, an aspect confirmed by Johnson shortly after the event, they chose not to mention it in the show, and instead allowed Dr. Clancy to unequivocally assert that abductees’ recollections about seeing aliens are only false memories inadvertently generated during hypnosis sessions. Once again, Woods told me about seeing the small figures approaching his vehicle, and of hearing their voices telepathically, months before he underwent hypnosis.

Furthermore, immediately following the encounter, Woods discovered two mysterious identical scars on his body—perfectly circular depressions exhibiting a small, centrally-located protuberance—which were also noted by medical staff at the Ellsworth AFB hospital, where he had been examined under orders from his Air Force squadron commander. Woods tried to show the scars to the Unidentified team sent to interview him but, as he told me, “They didn’t seem interested nor did they film them.” This baffles me and makes me wonder whether impartial reporting was the paramount objective on the part of the producers when presenting Woods’ account.

In the case of Jeff Goodrich, the episode did in fact include his on-camera comment about seeing small entities entering his bedroom and approaching his bed, at which point he was temporarily paralyzed. But then they allowed abduction skeptic Dr. Clancy to say in response, “That sounds exactly like a textbook case of sleep paralysis.” Whether or not Elizondo had mentioned to Clancy that a guest staying overnight at Goodrich’s house, who was sleeping in an adjacent room, also reported being paralyzed—at the exact same time—is unknown. If he did tell her, we didn’t see that in the program. Regardless, the neurological phenomenon known as sleep paralysis could not possibly have accounted for Goodrich’s inability to move, which occurred just as the small entities entered his bedroom, given that his house guest independently, simultaneously experienced the same unexplained paralytic effect. Unfortunately, the show’s producers let Clancy’s invalid pronouncement of “textbook sleep paralysis” go unchallenged. Very poor judgement on the part of someone!

Clancy further asserted that therapists often ask leading questions of persons under hypnosis, thereby inadvertently planting suggestions in their minds. Well, first, Jeff Goodrich’s memories of his entity encounter event were readily accessible the following morning and did not emerge via hypnotic recall later on, as Elizondo mistakenly told Clancy at one point. Actually, upon his retirement from the Air Force, Goodrich was ordered to sign a written statement, dictating that he never undergo hypnosis, for any reason, probably because he had handled nuclear missile launch codes during his career and held a Top Secret/Crypto clearance.

Furthermore, I can assure the reader that no—zero—leading questions were asked of Mario Woods or myself during our hypnosis sessions and I have the recordings of all of them to prove it. In fact, the producers were given the video of Woods’ hypnosis session and, therefore, had the opportunity to refute Clancy’s unfounded suggestion that he had been influenced by hypnotist Robert Upson’s style of questioning. But, for whatever reason, that did not happen. Consequently, Clancy was permitted to make her unequivocal, blanket statement implying that all abductees’ memories have been influenced by therapists’ leading questions. While I freely admit that this issue is potentially problematic in some cases, it was demonstrably not relevant to the specific cases covered in the program. Again, a very poor decision on the producers’ part not to refute Clancy’s off-base insinuation.

As for my own dramatic entity encounter experiences over the years, most were recalled without the use of hypnosis. However, regarding the August 13, 1988 incident that was presented in the show, I did eventually undergo hypnotic regression to attempt to learn more about the events in question—which occurred during a camping trip—after a number of strange, suggestive developments had already taken place, prompting my curiosity.

Specifically, on the night of the alleged abduction, multiple persons, including myself, witnessed the presence of an anomalous aerial craft—an unilluminated disc with two bright strobes, one on either end—rapidly moving away in the sky at very low altitude. That sighting was presented reasonably accurately in the Unidentified episode. However, more importantly—but not mentioned in the program—was the fact that one terrified member of our party was able to detect the object’s presence on the ground in the immediate vicinity of our tents, as it illuminated them and the surrounding trees and bushes with an intensity “as bright as daytime”, even though it was 3 a.m. when we all suddenly awoke to watch the object fly away. Further, another camper subsequently had a repetitive nightmare every night during the week following the outing, in which she saw three of the campers—a woman, her eight-year-old daughter, and me—walking single-file “like zombies” toward a brightly illuminated object sitting on the ground. Significantly, the young girl later recalled—without the use of hypnosis—the sensation of sleepwalking that night. These events were not mentioned in the show either.

In any case, given the intriguing developments noted above, I decided to explore the mysterious camping trip using hypnosis and eventually utilized the services of a very UFO-skeptical clinical psychologist, whom I won’t identify, who regressed me six times in 1992. As I said on-camera in the Unidentified episode, while under hypnosis I at one point recalled entering an extremely bright room with walls that curved into, and were inseparable from, the ceiling. What I also said to Elizondo, who interviewed me for the episode, was that directly in front of me I saw a metallic table with a short, Gray alien-type figure standing behind it. After a moment or two, the entity rushed at me and touched my head, at which point I apparently lost consciousness. But that important portion of my statement was not included the program, for whatever reason. (Just as Mario Woods’ key comments to the producers about remembering seeing aliens, both prior to being hypnotized and again during his session with Robert Upson, were not featured in the show. The producers only presented Mario, via voice-over, saying that at one point he felt as if he were immersed in a gel of some kind.)

Regardless, I emphasize again that at no time did my own therapist ask me any leading questions like, “Do you see anybody in the room with you,” as Dr. Clancy implied would have occurred, thereby tainting the data. And, once again, nor were such leading questions asked of Woods.

Summarizing, the reasonably credible “Extraterrestrial Encounters” episode is unfortunately compromised by errors of commission and omission. Nevertheless, I respect Lue Elizondo’s publicly-stated agnostic position on the abduction topic, as when he said, “There is no empirical way I can prove or disprove” the claim that some humans are being abducted by aliens. I have said much the same thing about my own experiences. Indeed, in my book Confession I noted that while unusual scars and retrieved implants (in some cases) are compelling, as are multiple, identical witness accounts that reinforce each other, they probably do not represent the type of irrefutable, verifiable evidence required by scientists. I fully understand this skeptical stance and regret that completely unimpeachable evidence for the reality of the abduction phenomenon seems to remain perpetually elusive. But this does not mean that the issue won’t be unequivocally proven one day.

However, if it were the intention of the Unidentified producers to try to raise valid questions about self-described alien abductees’ claims, if only for the sake of balance, they should have interviewed someone who is actually scientific in their approach to analyzing the problem, which Dr. Susan Clancy clearly is not. In my opinion, her fallacious position, which may be characterized as, “It can’t be, therefore it isn’t”, is downright embarrassing, except to other irrational debunkers. She seems to think that bragging that she has a Ph.D. from Harvard University when spouting her pseudoscience in public somehow makes the foolishness she promotes more credible.

A scathing but factually-accurate analysis of Clancy’s unacknowledged personal biases and fatally flawed research methodology regarding the alien abduction phenomenon may be read here.


10. Phoenix Lights

About twenty years ago, on March 13, 1997, thousands of people in the Phoenix, Arizona area experienced the sighting of huge, triangular UFOs flying over the city at night. The UFOs made a formation of five lights that varied in size from about the size of a Boeing 747 to multiple football fields. The display of the Phoenix Lights lasted about three hours and was seen across a 300-mile area from Phoenix, Arizona to Tucson.

The U.S. military claimed that two events caused the sightings, fighter jets flying in a triangular formation and flares that were set off as part of a training exercise.


10 Secret US Military Intelligence Projects

I just finished reading a new book on the history of Area 51 &ndash the super secret American military base located in Nevada. The book is titled &ldquoArea 51 &ndash An Uncensored History of America&rsquos Top Secret Military Base&rdquo by Annie Jacobsen. Ms. Jacobsen manages to uncover never before released facts about the little understood secret goings on at Area 51. There are enough secret projects talked about in the book to do five or six lists. It&rsquos amazing what scientists, engineers, the military and intelligence agencies will do when they have unlimited budgets, little to no accountability and everything they do is kept top secret. And remember, these are the projects we know of (or think we know of). Imagine what goes on at Area 51 that we do not know, and probably never will know.

Project Nutmeg has historical significance because it was the top-secret project that gave birth to the Nevada Test and Training Range. Prior to testing atomic devices on US soil, nuclear bombs were tested in the Pacific Ocean at what was called the Pacific Proving Grounds. While this afforded the US a remote (and huge) area to test secret atomic devices, the cost involved in sending men, materials and equipment half way around the world, was staggering. America felt it had to find someplace secure, yet within its borders that was reasonably close to where most atomic scientists were working at that time (such as Los Alamos, New Mexico). Project Nutmeg was authorized by the President to locate such an area. An ideal location was a region of desolate desert that had been a wildlife reservation. This area also had the benefit of already having a landing strip nearby, left over from military training exercises during WWII. The selected site in Nevada became 687 square miles of government-controlled land, and what we know today as the Nevada Test Site (of which Area 51 is the most well know, and most secret, parcel of land).

This project began sometime in the late 1960&rsquos and involved some of the first remote controlled aircraft experiments that would later become the Predator drones that are operating in the Middle East, today. It was a six-foot remote controlled drone designed to look like an eagle or buzzard in flight. It carried a television camera in the nose, as well as sensors and electronic surveillance equipment.

The project began as an attempt to investigate a mysterious watercraft the Soviet Union had constructed and was spotted testing (by satellite reconnaissance) on the Caspian Sea (that they later nicknamed the Caspian Monster). The project remains classified today, but a British documentary uncovered what is thought to have been the target for the Aquiline drone &ndash a Soviet hydrofoil called Ekranopian. The Aquiline drone was designed to track in on its target following established communication lines in foreign countries, and be launched from a submarine. The Aquiline drone was built and tested (it crash landed often) but the CIA eventually canceled the program.

Similar to the Aquiline project, this was another attempt by the CIA to mimic the animal kingdom in the development of remote controlled aircraft. Project Ornithopter involved a birdlike drone designed to blend in with nature by flapping its wings. Another even smaller drone was designed to look like a crow that would land on window ledges and photograph, through the window, what was going on inside the building. Project Insectothopter took the concept to an even smaller animal &ndash a drone designed to look like a dragonfly. Insectothopter was a green drone that flapped wings powered by miniature gas engines.

Not satisfied with mimicking mother nature &ndash the CIA also used actual animals to do surveillance, including pigeons with &ldquopigeon-cams&rdquo attached to their necks. Unfortunately, the birds were tired out by the extra weight of the cameras and returned to the CIA base on foot &ndash too tired to fly (the project was abandoned). Maybe the strangest project of all was Project Acoustic Kitty, which placed acoustic listening devices on household cats. That project was abandoned when the cats strayed too far off target searching for food, and one was run over by a car.

This was a &ldquosafety test&rdquo conducted at the Nevada Test Site to simulate what would happen if an airplane carrying an atomic bomb crashed and released radioactive material into the environment. In this way, Project 57 would become America&rsquos first &ldquodirty bomb&rdquo experiment. Scientists theorized that the detonation of the high explosives surrounding a nuclear warhead (but that did not initiate a full chain reaction) would release plutonium into the environment. But they did not know for certain, nor did they know how much plutonium would be released, how far the plutonium would travel, etc. The military and CIA felt the test was needed because more and more American nuclear warheads were being carried by more and more aircraft. Sooner or later (and it would come sooner than anyone thought), an airplane accident was bound to happen when the aircraft was carrying live nuclear weapons.

A part of the test site called Area 13 was selected and workers began to set up thousands of &ldquosticky pans&rdquo, steel pans sprayed with a sticky resin that would capture and hold plutonium particles released into the air by the explosion of the bomb. Mock cities were set up to determine what would happen if the explosion occurred in an urban area. Fourteen hundred blocks of asphalt streets were laid, and cars parked at various locations on the asphalt. Nine burros, 109 beagles, 10 sheep and 31 rats were placed in cages to measure the physical impact of the plutonium release. At 6:27 AM on April 24, 1957, the nuclear warhead was fired in such a way as to mimic a plane crash. When the radioactive dust settled, 895 square acres had been contaminated.

Plutonium is one of the most deadly substances known to man one millionth of a gram of plutonium is lethal if it is inhaled. Plutonium remains deadly for 20,000 years. Scientists learned much about how plutonium acts by studying the effects on the test animals, but the actual data is still classified. They also found that the plutonium did not move far &ndash it tended to settle on the top of the soil and stay there. After a year of study, Project 57 was shut down and the area never cleaned up. It was fenced off, the material (including the cars) were buried. That was it, or so the scientists thought, until the following year when another scientist authored a paper theorizing that earth worms passing through the contaminated area would move the plutonium with them, out of the restricted zone (as would birds which ate the worms and flew off with the radioactivity in them).

Not a project really but a mission. On January 21, 1968, a fire started on board a B52G bomber during a secret mission over Greenland. Most of the crew bailed out and the aircraft smashed into the Greenland ice sheet. On impact, the high explosives in at least three of the atomic bombs on board exploded. This spread radioactive plutonium, tritium and uranium over a large area. The CIA and US military now had a real Project 57 on their hands. The fire melted the ice and at least one atomic bomb fell into North Star Bay and below the ice covered sea. Apparently the US tried to recover the bomb but was unsuccessful.

Even though project 57 had provided lots of data about what happens when a nuclear warhead explodes and spreads radioactive contamination over a wide area, the military and CIA still did not have a permanent emergency response unit dedicated, equipped and trained to respond to these dirty bomb like disasters. So an ad-hoc group of scientists and military people were put together and sent to Greenland for what would become the toughest dirty bomb clean up operation in history. With temperatures dropping to &ndash 70 F and winds up to 100 mph, the conditions made it all but impossible for the men to clean up all of the radioactive contamination. Less than 50% of the radioactive material was recovered. The crew cleaned and froze for eight months and when they were done had cleaned up 10,500 tons of radioactive ice, snow and crash debris, which was flown to South Carolina for disposal. The crew would call themselves &ldquoDr Freezelove&rdquo.

This was another secret clean up of radioactive material but this time not American radioactive material &ndash Russian. On September 18, 1977, the Soviet union launched Cosmos 954, a nuclear-powered spy satellite. The satellite was 46 feet long and weighed over 4 tons. Within months of its launch, the US knew the satellite was in trouble. In December of 1977, analysts determined Cosmos 954 was slipping out of orbit and unless the Soviet Union took action, it would plummet to Earth. They further determined that if the Soviets could not gain control of the satellite it would reenter the atmosphere and crash somewhere in North America. Pressed by the Carter Administration to divulge what exactly was on board the satellite, the Soviets admitted it carried 110 pounds of highly enriched uranium.

At the direction of the CIA &ndash the decision was made by the US government not to inform the public. The CIA knew a satellite carrying a live nuclear reactor was going to crash somewhere in North America, but believed that &ldquoa sensationalized leak would disturb the public in unforeseeable ways&rdquo. So the public was kept in the dark.

Fortunately by 1978, the US had a trained team to respond to such emergencies &ndash the Nuclear Emergency Search Team or NEST. The NEST team stood by, waiting to deploy the minute the satellite crashed (no one could predict exactly where it would land). Eventually, national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski did tell the public that America was experiencing &ldquoa space age difficulty&rdquo.

When Cosmos 954 crashed it struck across a large swath of ice in the Canadian tundra, 1000 miles north of Montana near the Great Slave Lake. The NEST team vans carrying the specialists were dispatched by C130 transport to the crash scene. The vans were disguised as bakery vans. As part of Operation Morning Light &ndash the NEST team members searched over a fifty by eight hundred mile corridor for radioactive debris. After several months, 90 percent of the debris from Cosmos 954 was recovered. After the crash, officials calculated that if Cosmos 954 had made one more orbit of the Earth before it crashed, it would have landed somewhere over the populated American East Coast.

In the 1960&rsquos, the US was on its way to the moon. Lesser known is the fact that, at area 25 (a sister top secret site to Area 51) of the Nevada Test Site, NASA and AEC scientists were working on something even more ambitious &ndash a trip to Mars on a nuclear powered rocket. This was called project Nuclear Engine Rocket Vehicle Application or NERVA. Sixteen stories tall, the rocket ship, called Orion, would send 150 men to Mars in only 124 days. Orion would blast off from eight 250-foot-tall towers out of a cloud of radioactivity generated by a powerful nuclear reactor and engine aboard the ship. When running at full power the nuclear engine operated at 3,680 degrees Fahrenheit it had to be cooled by liquid hydrogen gas. To test such a monster engine and reactor it had to be bolted down to the earth. When tested, the NERVA engine would shoot into the atmosphere a plume of hydrogen exhaust that had passed through a superheated uranium fission reactor.

The Los Alamos scientists then decided they wanted to know what would happen if scientists lost control of one of these nuclear engines, and it exploded. Thus was born Kiwi &ndash a test to deliberately blow up one of these reactor/engines. On January 12, 1965, a nuclear rocket engine, codenamed Kiwi, was allowed to overheat. At a temperature of 4,000 degrees Centigrade, the reactor burst &ndash shooting radioactive fuel skyward, glowing every color of the rainbow. The explosion blew a 100-pound chunk of radioactive fuel a quarter mile away. The radioactive plume rose to 2,600 feet, and the wind eventually carried the radioactive cloud west, passing over Los Angeles and out to sea. Scientists were airborne with instruments measuring the amount of radiation that was released into the atmosphere, but as of today that data remains classified.

Though this was passed off as another &ldquosafety test&rdquo, the release of so much radiation into the atmosphere possibly violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, that banned the airborne explosion of atomic bombs. But scientists now knew what they needed. If the rocket engine exploded on the launch pad &ndash anyone standing within 100 feet would die almost immediately from radiation exposure. Anyone within 400 feet would receive a serious does of radiation that could be fatal, and anyone within 1000 feet would be overexposed to radiation.

Five months later, the real thing took place when another design of the nuclear rocket engine, code named Phoebus, did overheat. It exploded when one of the liquid hydrogen cooling tanks accidentally ran dry.

In the development of America&rsquos first stealth aircraft, dubbed &ldquoOxcart&rdquo, all manner of new technology was created at Area 51 to make the aircraft invisible to radar, or at least as small a radar image as could be achieved. Materials that would absorb radar, space age design and electronic counter measures were all employed. Yet when President Kennedy gave Oxcart it&rsquos mission to fly surveillance over Cuba to look for nuclear missiles being secretly installed there by the Soviet Union, the aircraft was still not quite ready. Researchers and scientists redoubled their efforts, but it was decided that Oxcart was still not stealthy enough. Some other way had to be found to make it all but invisible to enemy radar.

Project Kemper-Lacroix was one possible solution. At Area 51, scientists came up with the idea of attaching two giant electron guns, one on either side of the aircraft. The guns would shoot out a 25-foot wide ion cloud of highly charged particles in front of the aircraft (an aircraft which was already moving at speeds above Mach 3). The ion gas cloud would further absorb enemy radar waves coming up from the ground, providing the plane with more stealth.

Testing on scale models of the Oxcart aircraft showed the theory would work. Testing the electron beam guns on the full scale Oxcart aircraft, the researchers soon discovered the radiation given off by the guns would kill the pilot. So more engineers worked on developing an x-ray shield the pilots could wear to protect them from the radiation. But the first test pilot to wear the shield said it was too cumbersome to allow the pilots to fly the aircraft. Project Kemper-Lacroix was abandoned.

Perhaps the most wrong-headed, ill-advised and dangerous of all the atmospheric nuclear explosions by the US, Projects Teak and Orange were right out of a science fiction story about mad scientists and their crazy experiments leading to the destruction of the planet.

Teak and Orange were two massive, 3.8 megaton nuclear devices which would be detonated in the Earths upper atmosphere over the Johnston Atoll, 750 miles west of Hawaii. Teak was exploded at 50 miles and Orange was exploded at 28 miles in the upper atmosphere. The purpose of these tests was to give the US a measuring stick to use so as to determine if the Soviet Union did the same thing (exploded a nuclear device high in the Earths atmosphere). As if such an explosion would be difficult to detect? It seems mad now, looking back, that such tests were green-lighted, but that was the mood of the Cold War in the 1950&rsquos and 1960&rsquos. Test first, ask questions later.

How obvious is it to explode a 3.8 megaton nuclear device 28-50 miles up? The fireballs produced burned the retinas of any living thing within a 225 mile radius of the blast. Anything that had been looking at the sky when the blast occurred, without protective goggles was blinded. This included hundreds of monkeys and rabbits flown in aircraft nearby. The animals had their heads locked into devices that forced them to look at the blast. From Guam to Wake Island to Maui, the blue sky turned red, white and gray, creating an aura over a 2,100 mile section of the meridian. Radio communication throughout a huge part of the Pacific went dead. One of the weapons test engineers stated it chillingly &ndash &ldquowe almost blew a hole in the ozone layer&rdquo. In fact, prior to the explosions scientists had warned that it would be possible to blast a hole in the Earths protective ozone layer, but Teak and Orange went ahead regardless.

Not to be outdone, even higher high-altitude nuclear tests were conducted, these under Operation Argus. Nuclear tipped missiles were fired from ships for the first time as part of Argus. On August 27, 30 and September 6, 1950, nuclear warheads were shot into space by X-17 rockets from the deck of a US warship anchored off South Africa. These missiles went 300 miles out into space. The reason for these nuclear tests in outer space? One scientist theorized that exploding nuclear bombs in the Earths magnetic field (but above the Earth&rsquos atmosphere) could create an electronic pulse that would render incoming Russian ICBM&rsquos inoperative. Though a magnetic pulse was created by the nuclear explosions, the pulse was not large enough to have any affect on the ICBM&rsquos. The project was another dangerous, and ultimately futile, experiment.

I included this as a bonus, though if true, it would easily be #1 on any list. Is it true? You decide. In July 1947, the US military and Army intelligence recovered something that crashed at Roswell, New Mexico. The initial report was it was a crashed flying saucer and the bodies that were recovered were alien. The military quickly changed this story to it being a weather balloon, and so began the mystery of what really happened at Roswell, and the most famous UFO incident in American history.

The author of &ldquoArea 51&rdquo postulates that it was what was really recovered at Roswell that led to the creation of Area 51, in 1951. Something so stunning that an entire secret area had to be established for it to be studied. Immediately after the crash, the recovered material and bodies were sent to Wright Field (later called Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) in Ohio. The Atomic Energy Commission, under the direction of Vannevar Bush, then took over, created Area 51 and moved it all to Area 51, in Nevada.

According to the author, what the US really recovered at Roswell was not a spacecraft with aliens from outer space, but a Soviet aircraft with unknown and mysterious flying capabilities. The US knew the crashed aircraft was of Soviet, and not other-worldly, design because Russian language lettering had been found on the crashed remains. The aircraft had capabilities no one in Area 51, or anyone else, had ever seen. The aircraft could both hover and fly. No US technology at the time could do such a thing. Vannevar Bush ordered six selected engineers, working in total secrecy, to reverse engineer it and figure out how it worked. The project would be so secret, it would remain black forever, it would never be known outside a mere handful of people, such as Bush. The operation would have no name, it would simply go by a letter-number designation, S-4 or Sigma-Four. But there was more&hellip&hellip..

The engineers also had to reverse engineer the bodies recovered from the crash scene. Not alien bodies, human bodies. But human bodies like none ever seen &ndash mutated, surgically altered children. Two of the child-size aviators were still &ldquoalive&rdquo, but not conscious, in a comatose state. They were kept alive in life-support chambers at Area 51, so they could be studied. They were tiny even for children, and had very large heads compared to the rest of their bodies. They were estimated to be thirteen years old, and also had oversized eyes. The engineers who would experiment on these aviators were told it was possible Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele had operated on them (in exchange for a promise by Stalin to get his own laboratory in Russia, a promise Stalin did not keep) before he escaped Europe for South America.

But why would the Soviet Union send their cutting edge technology aircraft, with their biologically/surgically modified alien looking tiny human children, to the US? The author states the engineers were told Stalin believed the craft would land, and the children-aliens would emerge and send the US into a panic far worse than had occurred only a decade earlier, with the fake alien attack during the radio broadcast of &ldquoWar of the Worlds&rdquo. Stalin believed the US populace would panic at the sight of &ldquoreal aliens&rdquo.

Of all the strange, weird, and mysterious activities we know of, this, if true, would have to qualify as the strangest and most mysterious. Did it happen? You be the judge.


Project Blue Book, A History

Project Grudge, however, while "officially" closed, was still functioning at a reduced level. This reduced level consisted of a solitary investigator, Lt. Jerry Cummings. The Project might have faded away altogether except for a series of sightings at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, which resulted in the military itself criticizing the Air Force for its poor investigation of something that seemed to be a threat to national security.

As a result, when Lt. Cummings left the Air Force in 1951, Captain Edward Ruppelt, an Air Force intelligence officer, was appointed to take over the project, which was renamed Project Bluebook. Ruppelt took the task seriously and completely reorganized the project. He established means for speeding the receipt of reports, established liaisons with other agencies, systematized reporting procedures, and obtained the services of a scientific consultant in the person of astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek. A standard reporting form was developed by Ohio State University, and the Battelle Memorial Institute was commissioned to do a statistical study known as Project Stork. By April, 1952, after an increase in sighting reports, clearance was given for all intelligence officers at all U.S. Air Force bases to send reports directly to Bluebook by teletype. It seemed that at last the Air Force was truly serious about UFOs. It was just in time for the "flap" of 1952.

The "Flap of 1952" was a huge increase in sightings peaking in July with massive sightings both visual and on radar over Washington, D.C. These sightings were so numerous that they became known as the Washington Nationals. Even the CIA became concerned, so much so that they ordered the Office of Scientific Intelligence to review the data collected by Bluebook and the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB and to make recommendations based on their findings.

The OSI review of the existing data resulted in a recommendation, predictably, that the phenomena required more study. The main concern of the CIA was not that UFOs were a direct threat to the U.S., but that they were an indirect one. During this period, they heyday of the Cold war, the fear was that the many UFO sighting reports might obscure a very real threat from the Soviet Union. One example was that, during a wave of UFO sightings, a Soviet attack or an overflight by a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft might not be recognized as such until it was too late.

So, the CIA asked a Cal-Tech physicist, Dr. H.P. Robertson, to assemble a panel of respected scientists to study the UFO phenomenon. These included Dr. Samuel A Goudsmit, a nuclear physicist with the Brookhaven National Laboratories, geophysicist Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, radar & electronics expert Dr. Luis Alvarez of the University of California, and Johns Hopkins University astronomer Dr. Thornton L. Page. Astronomer and Project Bluebook consultant Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Frederick C. Durant, president of the International Astronautical Foundation, were associate members of the panel.

This distinguished panel, which would become known as the Robertson Panel, spent four days, 14 January, 1953 through 17 January, 1953, reviewing the existing evidence. At the end of this time, they issued a report, known as the "Durant Report", which merely restated that UFOs were not a direct threat to U.S. security , but which reiterated the fears of the CIA that the Soviets might somehow use the phenomenon to mask an invasions of the United States:

We cite as examples the clogging of channels of communication by irrelevant reports, the danger of being led by continued false alarms to ignore real indications of hostile action, and the cultivation of a morbid national psychology in which skillful hostile propaganda could induce hysterical behavior and harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.

Further, the Panel recommended a policy of debunking UFO sightings in order to quell the growing public preoccupation with the phenomenon:

. the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status that they have been given and the aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired

The conclusions of the Robertson Panel, as hasty and obviously disinforming as they were, dampened military and government enthusiasm for the study of UFOs. Captain Ruppelt left active duty in August, 1953, and Project Bluebook was turned over to an enlisted man, Airman First Class Max Futch. Additionally, an order called JANAP-146 was issued in December, 1953, which made the reporting of unidentified flying objects by military personnel a National Security Issue, with possible prosecution for its violation. The Air Force was publicly debunking UFOs, while privately drawing a veil of secrecy around their investigations. Personnel changes at Bluebook over the years reflect the decline in interest of the Air Force.

In March of 1954, Major Charles Hardin was put in charge of Project Bluebook, and the 4602nd Air Intelligence Service Squadron began training as field investigators. In 1955, the results of the Battelle Memorial Institute study were finally released as Bluebook Special Report Number 14. The study had a number of flaws, and concluded that improved methods of investigation and reporting would result in all UFO sightings being explained as ordinary phenomena.

In April, 1956, Captain George T. Gregory took over the helm of Bluebook and he began a concerted effort to "explain" every sighting, even if he had to make wide stretches to fit a sighting into an "explained" category.

In July, 1957, the 4602nd Air Intelligence Service Squadron was disbanded, and the 1006th AISS took over investigation duties. In July, 1959, investigative responsibilities were passed on again, to the 1127th Field Activities Group.

In October, 1958, Gregory was replaced by Major Robert J. Friend. By this time, the Air Force considered Project Bluebook to be a burden, and tried to find a way to either transfer it out of the intelligence section or to close it down altogether.

In 1963, Friend was replaced by Major Hector Quintanilla. Bluebook personnel had dropped to just two: Quintanilla and an enlisted man.

The death knell for Project Bluebook was heard in April, 1966, when the House Armed Services Committee recommended that the Air Force contract with a University for a scientific study of UFOs. On October 7, 1966, the Air Force announced that a program to study UFOs would be conducted by the University of Colorado and headed by Dr. Edward Condon. In reality, the Condon Committee, as it was called, had one task, and that was to provide a reason for the Air Force to end its official investigation of UFOs.

A speech given at the Corning Glass Works by Dr. Condon soon after the study began is revealing:

"It is my inclination right now to recommend that the government get out of this business. My attitude right now is that there's nothing to it."

". but I'm not supposed to reach a conclusion for another year."

That final conclusion of the "Condon Report", released 9 January, 1969 was:

Our general conclusion is that nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.

On December 17, 1969, Project Bluebook was closed and the veil of secrecy had been completely drawn around whatever investigation of UFOs was being conducted by the military.


The World Beyond Ours #30 Dr. Michael Salla and Adam Riva [PART 1/2]

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Impeccably researched, this riveting journalistic investigation separates fact from fiction, and documents the existence of—and government reactions to—actual UFOs. “A treasure trove of insightful and eye-opening information.”—Michio Kaku, PH.D., bestselling author of Physics of the Future

Books by Dr. Michael Salla:

Stillness in the Storm Editor: Why did we post this?

Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs have captivated people for decades. The policy of investigative bodies has been to cover up legitimate reports and encounters. Despite officialdom’s mandate to suppress the truth, reports, anecdotal accounts, and declassified documents continue to spark the curiosity of those who take these things seriously. The preceding information provides food for thought regarding the reality of UFOs and what they might mean. This information is beneficial to consider because it expands ones thinking via the exploration of mystery. A mind captivated by mystery has the power to make leaps and bounds in soul growth, due to the powerful urge to seek the truth resulting in changes to the substructures of being. Thus, a mystery is arguably the best activator for the individual, quickening the mind and stimulating the soul. This information also helps dispel the false reality pushed by the Deep State, which is critically important for the activation of the freedom and justice urges.

Not sure how to make sense of this? Want to learn how to discern like a pro? Read this essential guide to discernment, analysis of claims, and understanding the truth in a world of deception: 4 Key Steps of Discernment – Advanced Truth-Seeking Tools.

Stillness in the Storm Editor’s note: Did you find a spelling error or grammar mistake? Send an email to [email protected], with the error and suggested correction, along with the headline and url. Do you think this article needs an update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at [email protected] Thank you for reading.

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Why the United States Government Embraced the Occult

In 1952, the U.S. Army asked Duke University to help them develop a program to determine if dogs were psychic. Specifically, they wondered, could dogs use extrasensory perception (ESP)? To this end, researchers carried out a series of 48 tests on a beach in Northern California to see if dogs could locate underwater explosives. At first, the results pleased the scientists, who concluded that there was “no known way in which the dogs could have located the under-water mines except by extrasensory perception.”

Let us pause for a minute before going further. A dog’s olfactory capabilities are 40 to 50 times greater than those of a human its hearing is four times stronger. Judging them by human metrics, dogs literally have extrasensory perception. This does not mean, however, that they are psychic or paranormal. And sure enough, further tests failed to deliver any supernatural results. A follow-up program was deemed an “utter failure,” and researchers noted a “rather conspicuous refusal of the dogs to alert.”

This experiment is only one of the strange stories—many of them recently declassified—in Annie Jacobsen’s Phenomena: The Secret History of the U. S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis. As with her previous books on Area 51, Operation Paperclip (the secret project to bring Nazi rocket scientists to the U.S. after the war), and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which develops new technology for the Defense Department), this one begins with the fallout of World War II and the extreme measures the military-industrial complex took to unlock and weaponize psychic abilities in the early days of the Cold War. Spanning over 50 years, Jacobsen’s tale takes us from the immediate postwar years to the CIA’s experiments in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Defense Department, she tells us, began its own experiments in the 1980s and ‘90s, before their final incarnation, Project Stargate, was finally decommissioned in 1995.

Although Jacobsen’s book demonstrates an alarming pattern of government activity, the phenomena themselves are what makes her book so fascinating, and often troubling. “My intention … for this book,” she writes, “was not to prove or disprove anyone or any concept, but to report objectively on the government’s long-standing interest in ESP and PK phenomena.” That being said, she cuts these charlatans a great deal of slack while subtly undermining their critics, creating a reading experience that’s alternately frustrating and exhausting. And while she couldn’t have predicted this before finishing the book, Phenomena arrives at the beginning of a presidency that is thriving on conspiracy, distortion of fact, the discrediting of reliable sources, and outright paranoia. With the President of the United States quoting the National Enquirer as a legitimate news source, we’re in desperate need of a thorough account of the overlap between the government and the occult—but given our current climate, such a book also requires greater moral clarity.

The quest for extrasensory perception, an outgrowth of the nineteenth and early twentieth century Spiritualist movement, had begun in the 1930s, mainly with Duke University’s parapsychology experiments, conducted by J. B. Rhine. But in the wake of World War II, the US government began looking for ways to influence and control human behavior, and, in addition to traditional psychological tactics, attention increasingly turned to parapsychology, as well.

In the early 1950s, the Defense Department tasked Henry “Andrija” Puharich with locating mushrooms that they believed might unlock psychic powers (a project the CIA was also working on, under the codename Project MKULTRA). During this time Puharich was also researching faith healers, though much of his early research is still classified by the Atomic Energy Commission. Eventually, Puharich began exploring ESP and psychokinesis or PK (the ability to move objects with one’s mind), and began researching test subjects who appeared to have psychic potential.

Already well underway in period immediately after World War II, this paranormal research was greatly accelerated after a woman named Ninel Kulagina appeared on Russian TV, beginning in the 1960s, moving objects with her mind. Kulagina’s feats may well have been staged (U.S. analysts couldn’t tell for sure), but she spooked them nonetheless, leading to a joint intelligence assessment by the Defense Department on the “Soviet psychoenergetic threat.” Because much of this still remains classified, it’s not always clear how high up these directives went, or who exactly was aware in all cases of how much energy was being spent on this nonsense. The picture that does emerge, though, is a Cold War government terrified that the Soviet Union was developing an edge in any technology, be it normal or paranormal, and one willing to throw money just about anywhere so long as it meant staying ahead of the Russians.

Threat of an “ESP gap” led to a staggering number of bizarre programs in the ensuing years. In addition to the mine-sniffing dogs and mushroom research, there were lengthy and repeated attempts to prove that humans could communicate telepathically. When the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to reach the North Pole by traveling under the polar ice caps, a sailor onboard was attempting to send ESP messages using Zener cards (the ubiquitous black and white cards with simple images—a square, a circle, a plus, a star, and a set of wavy lines—to a receiver at a Westinghouse facility in Friendship, Maryland. (One report stated a success rate of 75 per cent once it hit the press, though, the Navy claimed it all was a hoax.)

One of the most popular and long-running experiments concerned “remote viewing.” Individuals would sit in locked rooms and attempt to see events from far away. Sometimes these individuals were natural psychics, but as the program grew the Defense Department attempted to prove that ability could be developed in otherwise normal individuals. Much of this was focused on military intelligence gathering, but one researcher, Ed Dames, used taxpayer money to direct supposed psychics to look for evidence of UFOs, to locate the lost city of Atlantis and the Ark of the Covenant, and to watch gladiator games in ancient Rome.

When Marine Lieutenant Colonel William Higgins was kidnapped by Hezbollah in 1988, the Defense Department brought in Dames, along with psychics Angela Dellafiora and Paul Smith, to see if they could remotely locate where he was being held. While other agencies were working through traditional surveillance and intelligence-gathering mechanisms, Dellafiora told her handlers that Higgins was still alive and confidently pointed to a bare patch of desert on a map of Lebanon where she said he was being held. She then said he was being moved constantly, that he was being held “on water,” and that something about his “feet would be a clue to investigators.” Subsequent reports would reveal that Higgins was already dead Hezbollah would later release a video of Higgins’s corpse with a noose around his neck, though investigators determined he’d been killed much earlier, his body kept on ice for months.

Dellafiora’s claims are typical of the kind of “evidence” that runs through Phenomena. She provided no actionable intelligence and was wrong about the most salient question of whether or not Higgins was still alive. But researchers determined he hadn’t been hanged because of the position of his feet in the video (pointing outwards, rather than down, as would have been the case had he been hanged), and her reference to Higgins being “on water” could be taken to refer to the ice his body was kept on—so all of this could somehow taken as a sign of success. For decades, researchers used half-successes like this to justify their attempts to prove individuals could see events far away and provide useful intelligence. Jacobsen offers a few cases of surprising success, which might lead one to believe there is something to remote viewing, but, without any sense of how many failures accompanied these successes (judging by the length of the programs, they must have numbered in the thousands), it’s hard to gauge whether or not these were just random luck.

Unlike dogs sniffing for land mines, humans see only what they want to see. Reading through Jacobsen’s cavalcade of experimenters and government officials, the recurrent theme is one of longing: a longing for something greater, something beyond the everyday, something more wonderful. Their stories are of ordinary individuals with promising careers who fell to the siren song of pseudoscience men like Dale Graff, who had an out-of-body experience while saving his wife from drowning in Hawaii in 1969. The experience led him to give up his PhD in aeronautical engineering because “he believed there were pursuits beyond the confines of orthodox science that had greater significance and should be taken on.” Graff would go on to be a leading researcher of remote viewing projects at the Air Force, chasing false positives and statistical noise in search of proof that psychic powers existed.

Or, even more dismaying, Edgar Mitchell, the sixth astronaut to set foot on the moon, a man who saw magisterial vistas the rest of us can only dream of. And yet, during his first night aboard Apollo 14, while he was supposed to be getting necessary sleep, he was obsessing about ESP, attempting to transmit Zener card images to a friend in a Chicago apartment. While the Apollo 14 mission was a success, the Zener card experiment was a failure. That didn’t stop Mitchell from choosing ESP over NASA: He quit the agency and set out to prove to the world that ESP was real. Mitchell’s time on the moon is the kind of thing that millions of school kids dream of doing some day it’s a dream that spurs young men and women to study science and go into STEM careers. That someone with such a rare and fantastic opportunity would walk away from it to promote nonsense of charlatans is staggering, and speaks for the strange psychological desperation in so many of Jacobsen’s subjects.

Ultimately, Jacobsen herself shares this longing. Her first book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Military Base, hinged on a revelation that the aliens at Roswell were in fact genetically-altered humans, created by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele at the behest of Joseph Stalin in order to trigger a War of the Worlds-style panic. She based this claim on one anonymous source whose account has never been corroborated or substantiated elsewhere. As with Area 51, one should proceed with caution in Phenomena before accepting any of the evidence for the supernatural presented here.

Her discussion of the spoon-bending parties of Jack Houck is a good case in point: Houck was an aerospace engineer who believed that “the ability to bend metal had something to do with one’s belief system. Perhaps psychokinesis was not a so-called paranormal superpower but an ability to harness the energy force the Chinese called qi that was latent in all people.” Houck held parties at his house with a “high-energy environment of excitement,” with people holding spoons and shouting “Bend!” According to Houck, in one 1981 party “nineteen out of the twenty-one spoons bent,” a careful use of the passive verb tense to suggest that they did this somehow of their own accord. Jacobsen goes on to write that:

Houck watched hundreds, then thousands of average Americans suspend their disbelief and bend metal without physical force. Yes, it’s likely some percentage of the guests cheated. But hundreds of them bent hacksaw blades, silver-plated serving spoons, and five-sixteenth-inch steel rods that are physically impossible to bend by hand.

Perhaps. A Youtube video of one of Houck’s party shows a tent-revival-esque atmosphere and a lot of people physically bending spoons by hand while shouting “Bend!” If you Google “spoon bending,” you’ll yield far more tutorials from magicians and sleight-of-hand experts on how to do this simple stage trick than you will videos purporting to capture the real thing. (As for the hacksaw blades and steel rods—well, any stage magician will tell you a few audience plants can go a long way after all, Houck was out to make money from this schtick.) Penn and Teller are among many magicians who’ve debunked Houck’s spoon bending, though they’re not mentioned here.

And then there’s Uri Geller, who looms large in these pages. A former Israeli paratrooper, Geller rose to fame in the late 1960s, performing stage shows that he insisted were not staged and that demonstrated, instead, a real magic that he himself did not fully understand. After becoming famous for the same spoon bending sham that Houck favored, Geller was approached by Andrija Puharich in the summer of 1971, with an offer to come to the United States to further test his powers in a laboratory setting. Geller worked with Puharich, the astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and others in the development of the Defense Department’s remote viewing labs, before going on to make millions “dowsing” for oil corporations in the 1980s. (Most recently, he’s brought his spoon-bending talent to a Kellogg’s cereal ad campaign). While magicians like James Randi repeatedly demonstrated the ways in which Geller’s supposed feats could be easily staged, he continued to dazzle his government handlers.

Some of this material, including Geller’s antics, was already covered in Jon Ronson’s 2004 The Men Who Stare at Goats, and though Phenomena is far more comprehensive and detailed, in many ways Ronson’s remains the better book. This is in part because Ronson’s bullshit detector is more finely tuned and he better captures the simultaneously hilarious and deeply horrific nature of his material. Ronson also recognizes that the ultimate aim of much of this government research was to harm and kill people: His light-hearted tone takes a deep nose dive in the book’s final chapters as he discusses Project Artichoke—a mind control program in the CIA that used, among other techniques, hypnosis, isolation and forced drug dependency followed by rapid withdrawal—and the death of Frank Olson.

Olson was a bacteriologist who became involved in Project Artichoke and, in 1953, was dosed with LSD against his knowledge. A few days later, he fell out of a thirteen-story Manhattan hotel window the CIA has maintained it was suicide, though his family has spent decades arguing it was murder. In contrast to Ronson, though, Jacobsen tends to treat the CIA and the Department of Defense as wacky and endlessly intriguing bureaucracies, and not two agencies who have as one of their primary purposes the killing of human beings.

Reading Jacobsen’s book in the Trump era makes one wonder if her hands-off reportage of obvious bullshit is not only irresponsible, but actively harmful. As skeptic Martin Gardner told Time magazine in 1973, “Belief in occultism provides a climate for the rise of a demagogue. I think this is precisely what happened in Nazi Germany before the rise of Hitler.” It is one thing to describe the stupid nonsense government researchers believed, but quite another to give the reader the impression that any of it has merit.

Or maybe something else is at work here. When ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency, which eventually became DARPA, the same agency Jacobsen profiled in her Pulitzer-nominated Pentagon’s Brain ) researchers evaluated Geller’s supposed feats, they found loose laboratory controls, skewing of data, and bias of researchers influencing the outcomes. There is serious doubt, concluded the ARPA report, “that Geller’s accomplishment transcends the range of activities that a skillful magician can perform.” The CIA, on the other hand, was not interested in whether or not Geller was genuinely paranormal, but “rather whether his capabilities are exploitable by CIA.”

Which is to say: The odds of the government harnessing psychic phenomena may be slim, but it may be in the government’s interest to continue to promote this belief, as the idea itself may have powerful psychological impacts on America’s enemies—or even its own populace. Perhaps Jacobsen’s sources had reasons for helping her believe in the impossible.

Colin Dickey is the author of The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters & Our Obsession with the Unexplained and Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places.


THE UFO CHRONICLES

Some years after the CIA released what it claimed was its entire collection of UFO-related documents, all of which were classified Secret or lower, it was discovered—as a result of a Freedom of Information request filed by researcher Stanton Friedman—that a National Security Agency (NSA) report referenced Top Secret CIA files on UFOs that had once been shared with NSA. In other words, highly-classified CIA UFO documents, whose very existence is publicly denied by the agency, remain secret to this day.

In view of this revelation, it’s perhaps advisable to examine the history of the CIA’s involvement with UFOs—both officially-acknowledged and recently-exposed. The following is a chapter from my 2008 book, UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites:

“It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs, but through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.”

Thank you, Admiral Hillenkoetter. I guess we should be thankful that even one former CIA director chose to be truthful about UFOs after leaving the agency. But that was nearly 50 years ago, so don’t hold your breath waiting for the next one. Unfortunately, Hillenkoetter later reversed himself—under pressure from the agency, according to respected UFO researcher Major Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC Ret.)—and withdrew his support for congressional hearings.

Fortunately, another former, high-level CIA employee, Victor Marchetti, has also been candid with the public. As noted in Chapter 8, Marchetti wrote the best-selling book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, which exposed many of the agency’s counterproductive and sometimes illegal activities. More to the point, he also wrote a lengthy article about the CIA’s interest in UFOs, titled, “How the CIA Views the UFO Phenomenon”, which appeared in the May 1979 issue of Second Look magazine. Marchetti said,

Here Marchetti seems to suggest that at least some of the public’s perceptions—as regards an official cover-up—may indeed have merit. And what might the CIA be hiding from the public? Well, that involves a fair amount of guesswork. However, elsewhere in the article, Marchetti writes about the rumors he heard while working at the highest level of the agency, regarding “little gray men whose ships had crashed, or had been shot down.𔄥 While this statement cannot be taken as proof that the CIA has been involved in the recovery of downed UFOs, or even as evidence that such events have actually occurred—given that Marchetti refers to the reports he heard as “rumors”—it at least confirms that agency employees had discussed, in a serious manner in Marchetti’s presence, the possibility that such recoveries had in fact occurred. But as researcher Mark Rodighier correctly notes, “Rumors are just that, and a serious discussion of rumors is different than a serious discussion of actual documents or knowledge about crashed UFOs.”

Over the years, the CIA has attempted to portray its own role in the U.S. government’s UFO-related activities as a mostly passive one from the early 1950s onward. However, a number of researchers have doubted this carefully-crafted public image, believing it to be a façade designed to conceal a greater, perhaps central, role in the official cover-up. Over time, certain hints, inadvertent slips, and the rare admission by a former agency employee, like Marchetti, have coalesced in a way which suggests an official interest in UFOs far greater than the CIA is willing to acknowledge.

Researcher Barry Greenwood writes,

The possible involvement of the CIA in UFO research has long been a hot topic of controversy. Up until the mid-1970s, the CIA’s response to inquiries about UFOs would be either not to answer or to forward the correspondence to the Air Force for attention. This was not very satisfying to individuals who had heard rumors [about], or had even experienced firsthand, [instances] of the CIA collecting and analyzing information on UFO sightings from around the world. There was little that could be done to gain more information. No legal means existed to force the CIA to answer any questions, let alone release documents.

When the Freedom of Information Act became law, this means was finally made available to UFO researchers. Initial attempts were not without frustration, however. One of the first organizations to pursue the CIA for UFO documents was Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) of Phoenix Arizona. Headed by William Spaulding, GSW was at the forefront of document research and made great strides in allowing public access to government UFO activities.

A request was filed on July 14, 1975 by GSW. The letter asked for copies of all UFO case investigations/evaluations by the CIA. After a long delay, the CIA responded on March 26, 1976:
‘In order that you may be aware of the true facts concerning the involvement of the CIA in the investigation of UFO phenomena, let me give you the following brief history. Late in 1952, the National Security Council levied upon the CIA the requirement to determine if the existence of UFOs would create a danger to the national security of the United States. The Office of Scientific Intelligence established the Intelligence Advisory Committee [more commonly known as the Robertson Panel] to study the matter. That committee made the recommendations found at the bottom of page 1 and the top four lines of page 2 of the Robertson Panel Report. At no time prior to the formation of the Robertson Panel and subsequent to the issuance of the panel’s report, has the CIA engaged in the study of the UFO phenomenon. The Robertson Panel Report is summation of the Agency’s interest and involvement in the matter.’

This, then, was the CIA’s only involvement [with] UFOs, according to the CIA. A much protracted legal battle ensued and resulted in the ultimate release of nearly 900 pages of UFO-related documents. 4 In other words, after telling Ground Saucer Watch that it had no UFO files involving its study of the phenomenon, except for the previously declassified Robertson Panel Report, the CIA—once it had been subjected to legal pressure in federal district court—managed to find some 900 documents in its files, which it eventually released to GSW. (Researcher Jan Aldrich notes that prior to the GSW lawsuit, the CIA had listed a handful of UFO documents in its Declassification Index. Some of those documents were used in the lawsuit to ask the agency about other documents referenced in them.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, at least not to me, a review of these 900 pages leaves one with the impression that, generally, the subject of UFOs was not one the CIA actively pursued, relative to its other intelligence-gathering and analytical activities. And this is precisely the impression the agency wished to convey. The documents included various internal memoranda, a few reports, some low-level files from friendly foreign intelligence services, and even newspaper clippings of UFO sightings overseas. In short, the picture portrayed by this rather paltry collection is that—from its creation in 1947, up to the late 1970s—the agency’s interest in the UFO phenomenon was, with rare exceptions, both peripheral and superficial.

That said, there was among the files a memorandum, dated December 2, 1952, in which the Assistant Director of the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell, expressed concern about repeated UFO incursions into restricted airspace above various nuclear weapons-related facilities in the early 1950s. Because the memo does not explicitly identify the sites, referring to them only as “major U.S. defense installations”, it’s possible that the importance and sensitivity of the message was overlooked during the agency’s document declassification review.

Regardless, once the memorandum was in the public domain, I began highlighting it’s significance during my presentations on the U.S. college lecture circuit. Interestingly, the memo is not available at the CIA’s website, if one searches for the agency’s declassified UFO documents. Perhaps someone eventually realized the apparent error in declassifying it years ago and quietly pulled it back into the shadows. (It will be recalled that the Defense Nuclear Agency once declassified the deck log of the U.S.S. Curtiss AV-4, during the period of the Operation Castle nuclear tests in the South Pacific, in the spring of 1954. One log entry from April 7th revealed that a UFO had silently buzzed the ship at low altitude. Once that revelation was publicized by researchers, the log mysteriously disappeared from the Department of Energy’s public archives.)

In any case, on the whole, the documents released to Ground Saucer Watch in 1978 suggested that while the CIA had a moderate interest in the U.S. Air Force’s investigation of UFOs, they also seemed to rule out the agency’s involvement in any UFO investigations of its own. Nor was there any evidence to indicate that it had participated in formulating or directing government policies related to the suppression of UFO-related information—i.e. a cover-up. (Even though the CIA’s Robertson Panel Report, released years earlier, had advised implementing a covert program to “debunk” UFOs as a credible topic, using mass media to spread the message, and also recommended a government infiltration and spying operation against UFO research groups.)

But the self-portrait of CIA non-involvement with UFOs, as painted for GSW, is highly misleading. As I wrote earlier in this book, “The selective declassification of UFO-related information by the U.S. government has been routinely utilized for decades to steer public perception in a certain direction. It’s commonly called ‘spin.’ The purpose of this propaganda tactic is to change the actual story of official interest in the UFO phenomenon, so that it appears as if there exists only minimal concern, or none at all.”

In this particular instance, all of the documents grudgingly released by the CIA—after the agency initially denied their existence—were classified SECRET or lower. Not a single TOP SECRET, or above, UFO-related document held by the CIA was declassified. “Or above” simply means any file designated TOP SECRET/Code Word, thereby restricting access to it by those CIA employees who hold not only a Top Secret clearance, but who also have a need-to-know about the project or operation with that specific code name.

One of those directly involved in the effort to access the CIA’s UFO documents, the late W. Todd Zechel, said that in the course of the legal action against the agency, Ground Saucer Watch’s attorney, Peter Gersten, had been informed by the CIA’s attorneys that some 10,000 pages of UFO-related documents been located. Although only an estimate, this number was nevertheless much higher—by a factor of ten—than the 1000 or so pages ultimately released to GSW. In an article written years later, Zechel described the unsatisfying outcome. Referring to himself in the third-person, he writes,

W. Todd Zechel [is the] founder of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) and [a] UFO researcher specializing in government cover-up. Zechel had initiated a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA in September 1977, in conjunction with Peter Gersten, a New York attorney, and Ground Saucer Watch, a Phoenix-based UFO group for which Zechel was Director of Research. In December 1978 the suit resulted in the CIA releasing more than a thousand documents it had claimed didn’t exist prior to the suit…

The CIA had been ordered to search all of its files for UFO-related documents and make a full accounting of them. This Stipulation and Order was in accordance with an agreement Zechel and Gersten had worked out with the CIA’s attorney and a U.S. Attorney at a Status Call hearing on the suit on July 7, 1978. It was then that Zechel had, in a rather forceful manner, threatened to have CIA officials criminally prosecuted for issuing false replies to FOIA requests on UFOs. Faced with this, the CIA had backed down and agreed to cooperate. However, subsequently the CIA only accounted for 1,000 documents and claimed to be withholding a mere 57.

Statements were made by CIA representatives during the course of the suit, [whereby] attorney Gersten was led to believe [that] in excess of 10,000 documents would be made available. There was also a letter to Zechel from the CIA’s FOIA staff asking him to suspend action on a particular request, stating, 𔃱,000 pages of additional UFO related documents have just been located’ and were being processed.

It was also clear from analyzing the documents released on December 15, 1978, that the CIA was continuing to be deceptive. Brad Sparks, a researcher with CAUS, found references in the released material to more than 200 other UFO-related documents which the CIA had failed to acknowledge. Moreover, it was evident the CIA had carefully selected the documents it released, even with heavy censorship. The CIA only accounted for documents related to matters Zechel and Sparks had uncovered during their investigation of CIA involvement, and excluded many others such as conclusions of its emergency studies of UFOs in 1952, 1957, 1965, 1967, and others. These studies were carried out in secret, utilizing Domestic Contact Service (a.k.a. Domestic Collection Division) agents, during a number of UFO flaps and in conjunction with the Condon Committee study (1966-68).

In March 1979, after the CIA filed deceptive affidavits with the court about its purported search of files, Gersten set out to file an Order to Show Cause Why the CIA Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court. The Show Cause order asked the court to penalize the CIA for failing to comply with the Stipulation and Order agreed to in 1978.

Zechel had [learned in the course of conversations with former agency employees that] the CIA had been conducting secret studies of UFOs since 1952, and perhaps even before that, and had utilized high-tech cameras, sensing devices and a nationwide field staff of agents who became covert operatives in 1973…

The Order to Show Cause was filed one day late and thrown out of court when the U.S. District Court judge upheld the CIA’s Out of Time motion. The CIA had been 88 days late with its filing, surpassing a 60 day extension by 28 days. But that mattered not to Judge John Pratt, whose rulings had been reversed five times in the past by higher courts for decisions unfairly favorable to the CIA. 5

So there the matter rested. Due to a legal technicality, there would be no appeal of the CIA’s very limited and apparently highly-selective release of UFO-related files. The first verifiable confirmation that the CIA did indeed have TOP SECRET or above UFO documents occurred in the early 1980s, after a subsequent legal action against the National Security Agency (NSA) by the group founded but no longer headed by Zechel, Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, revealed that the CIA had sent the NSA 23 UFO-related files over the years, some of them classified TOP SECRET/Code Word. In the mid-1980s, researcher Stanton Friedman used the FOIA to access four of them. He writes, “It took me two years to get nine of [the 23 documents]. They were unclassified English translations of Eastern European newspaper articles about UFOs. It took another three years in response to my appeal to get four more, [which were] very heavily censored CIA TOP SECRET/Code Word UFO documents. On two, one could read only eight words that weren’t blacked out. One said ‘DENY in TOTO!’𔄨

In short, at the present time, there are for all practical purposes no CIA Top Secret or above UFO-related documents in the public domain. Moreover, there is no real assurance that the CIA actually released all of its SECRET or lesser-classified UFO documents in response to the GSW lawsuit. After all, the CIA initially lied to GSW’s attorney when it told him that the agency had no more UFO documents. Only when legal action was threatened did the CIA finally release a relatively small number of files (after its attorneys admitted that the agency had a much larger number) most of which were thoroughly innocuous. Even then, the agency continued to hide that fact that it had sent a number of TOP SECRET/Code Word UFO documents to the NSA. That fact was not uncovered until years later, and only after another lawsuit. And even then, when copies of those documents were finally released to Stanton Friedman, they were censored to the point of uselessness.

Regarding the probable futility of another lawsuit against the CIA, UFO researcher Bruce Maccabee has written, “Both the CIA and later NSA lawsuits showed that the government could appeal to ‘national security’ to withhold documents. There was no reason to believe that the same excuses wouldn’t be used again to protect the ‘really good stuff’ we wanted. In other words, [the CIA] might locate some more, even many more, documents and simply refuse to release them all or in part for national security reasons. 𔄩

Regardless, in view of the agency’s documented track record of denial and obfuscation, should we the public really believe any official CIA pronouncement about its supposedly superficial and intermittent involvement with UFOs?

This question gets right to the heart of the matter, as regards the nukes-related UFO incidents. In light of the extensive testimony provided by my ex-Air Force sources—regarding UFOs disrupting nuclear missiles or, worse, temporarily activating them—it seems a virtual certainty that the CIA would have been informed of these incidents, given their obvious and immediate impact on the national security of the United States.

If this contention has merit, and in my view it does, the classification of such information would have been very high, at least SECRET and possibly higher, given its extraordinary sensitivity. I already know that after the Malmstrom AFB missile shutdown incidents in March 1967, the Air Force launch officers involved were debriefed and told that the incidents were classified SECRET. And that was just the initial classification level assigned to the shutdowns. It’s not out of the question that once the debriefing data were evaluated by higher-ups at SAC or the Pentagon, an even higher rating was assigned to the incidents. This last scenario, while admittedly speculative, is neither unreasonable nor unprecedented.

Some will dispute my contention that the Air Force would have provided the CIA with information about UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites in the first place, either because it was strictly a military matter, or because of the now well-documented inter-governmental rivalries that existed during the Cold War era, which precluded the sharing of vital information on many occasions—often at the country’s expense. (For example the notorious CIA-FBI rivalry during J. Edgar Hoover’s long tenure at the bureau and, more recently, when the two intelligence groups failed to share important information about the Islamic terrorists involved in 9/11, before the attacks occurred.)

However, considering the many nuclear weapons-related UFO incidents presented in this book—which clearly have national security implications in the most naked, fundamental manner—for one to argue that the CIA would have no documents relating to such events is to suggest one of two things:

1) Either the U.S. military successfully kept this monumentally-important information from the primary agency tasked with collating national security intelligence during the entire Cold War era.

2) Or the CIA—upon being informed about the apparent disruption or temporary activation of our nuclear missiles by those piloting the UFOs—simply shrugged and said, “That’s the military’s problem,” and thereafter circulated no SECRET or TOP SECRET memos about those incidents, and wrote no SECRET or TOP SECRET reports about them to be delivered to, for example, the President during his daily, highly-classified intelligence briefing prepared by the agency’s Directorate of Intelligence.

While some might be able to accept one of these scenarios as credible, I simply cannot. Therefore, in my view, it is almost a given that SECRET and/or TOP SECRET documents relating to UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites continue to be held by the CIA. Needless to say, if such documents do indeed exist, they will not be available for public scrutiny anytime soon.

In the interim, American citizens, and the rest of humanity, are left only with the tantalizing statements by two credible sources regarding the CIA’s direct involvement in at least one nuclear weapons-related UFO incident. As noted in an earlier chapter, former Air Force officers, Dr. Bob Jacobs and Dr. Florenze Mansmann, both adamantly insist that CIA agents confiscated an astounding motion picture film showing a UFO shooting down a dummy nuclear warhead with beams of light, during a missile test in September 1964—the so-called Big Sur Incident.

Nothing in the 1000 or so documents released by the CIA in the late 1970s would indicate the agency’s involvement with, or even knowledge of, that extraordinary case. Nevertheless, the two officers at Vandenberg AFB who were directly involved unequivocally stand by their accounts of CIA intervention. According to then Major Mansmann, there was absolutely no doubt about who was in control, calling the shots, and impressing upon everyone present the importance of absolute secrecy. Mansmann has written that the incident was classified TOP SECRET. Therefore, presumably, the CIA has to have at least one TOP SECRET UFO case document, and the accompanying motion picture film, in its files. Efforts by researchers over the years to access the film have met with blanket denials from the agency about its existence.

The important point here is that if the CIA’s official stance is factual—regarding its supposedly passive, or even non-role in the ongoing collection and simultaneous suppression of UFO data—then it should not have been interested in the Big Sur incident at all, deferring instead to the Air Force. But the former Air Force officers directly involved in the case continue to say otherwise. For example, in the early 1980s, Mansmann—after confirming in writing, on numerous occasions, former Lieutenant Jacobs’ published account of the UFO incident—also expressed concern about possible repercussions to himself from “the agency involved” in the confiscation of the film because of his willingness to substantiate Jacobs’ story.

(When considering the CIA’s supposedly limited role in the UFO cover-up, one might also consider the statements of retired high-level FAA official John Callahan, who unequivocally states that a CIA agent confiscated radar tapes and voice communications data relating to the sighting of a huge UFO in Alaska in 1987 and angrily ordered that the incident be kept secret to prevent public panic.)

In any case, the ongoing controversy among researchers, regarding the degree to which the CIA has been involved in monitoring—and perhaps even coordinating the government’s covert response to UFOs—is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

In 1994, the CIA authorized the publication of an official history of its involvement with UFOs, condensed into a 17-page article by the CIA’s own historian, Gerald K. Haines. The piece appeared in Studies in Intelligence, a classified journal accessible to members of the intelligence community. Titled, “CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947󈟆,” it appeared in the unclassified edition of the journal in 1997.

If Haines was not ordered to be intentionally disingenuous, it seems evident he was largely kept in the dark by his superiors at the agency, and was given a highly selective cross-section of files from which to construct his “history.” His article was probably intended as an exercise in spin. If so, it succeeded completely, if one reviews the generally uncritical, naïve, almost slavish acceptance by the U.S. media of Haines’ summation as something actually resembling reliable history.

The sanitized version of history offered by the CIA’s in-house historian is a combination of old news—publicized long ago, at least within ufological circles—and patently ridiculous claims (e.g. CIA officials who worked on the U𔃀 and SR-71 spy plane projects claimed that over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were the result of manned reconnaissance flights over the United States.)

Noted ufologist Mark Rodighier’s excellent critique of Haines’ article is available online.8 Rodighier is the Scientific Director for the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) and, while I disagree with some of his assessments, he neatly dissects Haines’ own naiveté, personal unfamiliarity with the UFO phenomenon, and probably predictable face-value acceptance of the materials he was provided with by agency higher-ups to review. Needless to say, no Top Secret or above UFO-related documents were handed to Haines to include in his “history.” Rodeghier writes,

When the press learned about the Haines study, the attention was dramatic. The media generally focused on two aspects of the Haines article. In a brief section entitled ‘CIA’s U𔃀 and OXCART as UFOs,’ Haines claims that many UFO sightings in the late 1950s and 1960s were actually misidentified secret American spy planes. Moreover, he alleges that the Air Force’s Project Blue Book was in on this cover-up, purposely misled the public, and falsified (Haines didn’t use that word but that is plainly what the Air Force would be doing) UFO explanations. This is important news if true, and the media rightly played up this angle…Note that the CIA is not accused of deception by Haines rather, it is the Air Force that willingly concocted the bogus explanations…

Press coverage focused on the [CIA’s Robertson Panel’s] recommendations that UFO reports be debunked (a policy Blue Book followed assiduously after 1953), that UFO groups be watched, and that there was a danger the Soviets might use UFOs to clog the channels of communication and then launch a nuclear attack. The deception about our spy planes was just a small part of this strategy.9

Not surprisingly, there is no mention of nuclear weapons-related UFO incidents in Haines’ CIA-authorized history, or any of the “very sensitive activities” involving UFOs alluded to by disaffected CIA official Victor Marchetti—in his far-more-cogent, if way-too-brief 1979 article on the agency’s actual, ongoing, deadly-serious interest in UFOs.

Even if Marchetti had not resigned from the CIA in 1969, the agency would never have asked him to write a history of its involvement with UFOs. Unlike Gerald Haines, he would have undoubtedly asked too many questions regarding the highly-selective, very limited data he was given to peruse. (I can imagine old Victor asking, “So, guys, where are all of the TOP SECRET UFO documents?”) That said, perhaps Haines can be forgiven for the often misleading article he wrote. After all, he was never privy to the hushed discussions about UFOs that took place at the highest levels of the CIA—the ones later publicly alluded to by Marchetti.

Speaking of official history versus actual history, another notable article by Marchetti, titled, “Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History”, was published by the Journal of Historical Review, in 2001. He writes,

The CIA is a master at distorting history—even creating its own version of history to suit its institutional and operational purposes. The real reason for the official secrecy, in most instances, is not to keep the opposition (the CIA’s euphemistic term for the enemy) from knowing what is going on the enemy usually does know. The basic reason for governmental secrecy is to keep you, the American public, from knowing—for you, too, are considered the opposition, or enemy—so that you cannot interfere. When the public does not know what the government or the CIA is doing, it cannot voice its approval or disapproval of their actions. In fact, they can even lie to you about what they are doing or have done, and you will not know it.

The CIA, functioning as a secret instrument of the U.S. government and the presidency, has long misused and abused history and continues to do so. I first became concerned about this historical distortion in 1957, when I was a young officer in the Clandestine Services of the CIA.

One night, after work, I was walking down Constitution Avenue with a fellow officer, who previously had been a reporter for United Press.

‘How are they ever going to know,’ he asked.

‘Who? How is who ever going to know what?’ I asked.

‘How are the American people ever going to know what the truth is? How are they going to know what the truth is about what we are doing and have done over the years?’ he said. ‘We operate in secrecy, we deal in deception and disinformation, and then we burn our files. How will the historians ever be able to learn the complete truth about what we’ve done in these various operations, these operations that have had such a major impact on so many important events in history?’

I couldn’t answer him then. And I can’t answer him now. I don’t know how the American people will ever really know the truth about the many things that the CIA has been involved in. Or how they will ever know the truth about the great historical events of our times. The government is continually writing and rewriting history—often with the CIA’s help—to suit its own purposes.

If the public were aware of what the CIA is doing, it might say: ‘We don’t like what you’re doing—stop it!’ Or, ‘You’re not doing a good job—stop it!’ The public might ask for an accounting for the money being spent and the risks being taken.

Thus secrecy is absolutely vital to the CIA. Secrecy covers not only operations in progress, but continues after the operations, particularly if the operations have been botched. Then they have to be covered up with more lies, which the public, of course, can’t recognize as lies, allowing the CIA to tell the public whatever it wishes.

Presidents love this. Every president, no matter what he has said before getting into office, has been delighted to learn that the CIA is his own private tool. The presidents have leapt at the opportunity to keep Congress and the public in the dark about their employment of the agency.

This is what was at the basis of my book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. I had come to the conclusion, as a member of the CIA, that many of our policies and practices were not in the best interests of the United States, but were in fact counterproductive, and that if the American people were aware of this they would not tolerate it. 10

Marchetti was obviously ahead of the curve in exposing CIA abuses and follies, as the public now knows. Over the last few decades, other former intelligence agency employees and government officials have come forward to decry the agency’s questionable policies and practices which clearly deserve public scrutiny and greater congressional oversight. While no ex-CIA official has yet elaborated—at least candidly and at length—on Marchetti’s intriguing comments regarding the agency’s involvement with UFOs, other persons with CIA contacts have.

W. Todd Zechel, perhaps the person most responsible for the release of the relatively few CIA UFO documents currently available, died in 2006. In one of his last published articles, he summarized his 30-year investigation of the agency’s involvement with the UFO phenomenon.

Zechel’s history, although unofficial and incomplete, is almost certainly closer to the truth than anything offered by the agency itself. He wrote in part,

Although the United States Air Force (USAF) has been a great deal less than candid and forthright about UFOs over the years, especially in view of the fact the Air Force is charged with defending the country’s air space, it appears that it was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which orchestrated a policy of deception in order to prevent the American people from learning the truth about UFOs.

A formerly SECRET report (the so-called Robertson Panel Report) released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that CIA officials and consultants thought people seeing and reporting UFOs was more dangerous than UFOs themselves, stating, ‘the continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena (UFOs) does, in these perilous times, result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic.’

Another ‘danger’ cited by the CIA panel was that acknowledging UFOs could result in ‘. the cultivation of a morbid national psychology in which hostile propaganda could induce hysterical behavior and a harmful distrust of duly constituted authority.’ To counter these supposed dangers, the CIA panel recommended a policy of ‘debunking’ and education designed to persuade people that what they were seeing really wasn’t there.

In explaining how this psychological warfare against the American people should be carried out, the report stated: ‘The debunking aim would result in reduction of public interest in ‘flying saucers’ which today evokes a strong psychological reaction. This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures and popular articles.’

The panel had further ideas on how what was essentially a disinformation program should be mounted, stating: ‘It was felt strongly that psychologists familiar with mass psychology should advise on the nature and extent of the program.’ The report went on to name certain psychologists who might be recruited to join the debunking project.

The formation of the CIA panel came about as a sort of compromise worked out by the National Security Council (NSC) after events in the summer of 1952. A major UFO flap had taken place across the country, highlighted by puzzling incidents in July 1952, when UFO intruders were simultaneously tracked on ground radar and observed by jet interceptor pilots over the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The public, the press, and even President Harry Truman demanded to know what was going on. As a result, the US Air Force held a major press conference on July 29, 1952, the largest press conference since WW II, at which it was suggested the UFOs were temperature inversions—layers of warm air trapped under cold air that, by some giant stretch of the Air Force’s imagination, were tracked on radar and seen as maneuvering flying craft by pilots sent aloft on scramble alert.

In August 1952, as documents released as the result of the FOIA suit filed by the author confirm, the CIA began reviewing the Air Force’s handling of UFOs. Ransom Eng, an official with the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, wrote a report in which he characterized the Air Force’s efforts as ‘scientifically invalid.’ Armed with these criticisms, the CIA wanted to take charge of UFO intelligence (the collection and analysis of UFO evidence), and proposed, through CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith, that UFOs were much too serious of a matter to be left in the hands of the USAF. The National Security Council, however, would only approve a compromise whereby a CIA-appointed panel would review UFO reports provided by the Air Force to determine if UFOs were a ‘direct, hostile threat to national security.’

. In January 1953 the CIA’s Robertson Panel—mostly consulting scientists of the CIA’s chosen to review the UFO evidence selected by the USAF—rejected the conclusions of the U.S. government’s top photo analysts from the Naval Photographic Interpretation Center (NAVPIC), at Anacostia, Maryland, Capt. Arthur Lundahl and Lt. Robert Neasham, who had concluded the objects in two 8mm UFO films submitted to the Air Force and examined by the CIA Panel were extraterrestrial spacecraft. Both men were reportedly emotionally shattered by the Panel’s rejection of their studied conclusions.

But within a matter of days, Lundahl and Neasham were invited by the CIA to resign their Navy officers’ commissions and come over to the CIA as civilians and establish the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) at 5th and K Streets in Washington, D.C., with Lundahl serving as the founding Director for the next twenty years and Neasham as his top assistant.

The mastermind of what was to become the U.S. government’s UFO policy and author of the CIA’s Robertson Panel Report, which found that UFOs did not pose ‘a direct, hostile threat to National Security,’ was Fred Durant, an officer with the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) who at the time was operating under the cover of being a civilian scientist employed by the Arthur Little Co. In fact, in August 1952, Durant, claiming to represent a small group of ‘concerned scientists’ (actually CIA officers) had approached USAF Captain Ed Ruppelt, Commanding Officer of the Air Force’s UFO ‘study,’ Project Blue Book, and USAF Major Dewey Fournet, the Pentagon’s liaison to Blue Book. Most revealingly, the CIA had found it necessary to spy on the Air Force in order to find out what it had collected on UFOs, and Fred Durant had been the perfect man for the secret mission.

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) began collecting UFO data in mid-1947, shortly after the first civilian sightings of ‘flying saucers’ were reported. The initial study was code-named Project Sign. This was changed to Project Grudge in 1948. In December 1949 the Air Force issued a ‘Grudge’ report in an attempt to have saucer sightings dismissed as post-war or Cold War jitters, then closed down the official study program. However, in early 1951, the Commanding General of Air Force Intelligence at the Pentagon, Gen. Charles P. Cabell, secretly requested UFO studies to be reopened, and in 1952 the revitalized UFO study was assigned the code-name Project Blue Book. [Its formal name was] the Aerial Phenomena Group of the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. Air Force Intelligence at the Pentagon designated a senior officer to be liaison to Project Blue Book.

After the fiasco of July 1952, in which the USAF ‘suggested’ at a major press conference that the multiple UFO chases involving jet interceptors after the UFOs were tracked on ground radar were just ‘temperature inversions’ and the shameful American newspapers ran screaming headlines that (uncritically) proclaimed ‘AIR FORCE DEBUNKS UFOS AS JUST NATURAL PHENOMENA,’ the CIA tried to grab control over UFO intelligence away from what it perceived as an irresponsible USAF. But the National Security Council wasn’t willing to embarrass the Air Force by taking away [its authority to investigate] the UFO problem.

The next big UFO flap started in early November 1957, when landed UFOs as large as 200 feet in diameter were observed near Levelland, Texas, by credible witnesses, including law enforcement officers. After a quick visit, an Air Force Intelligence officer [sic] dismissed the incidents as resulting from ‘ball lightning.’ This absurd explanation angered the local Texas residents and witnesses, many of whom held responsible positions in local government. Powerful U.S. Senator Lyndon Johnson (D-Tex), then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was contacted by the outraged Texas citizens from Levelland, and he asked the CIA to conduct a secret investigation, since it was clear the USAF was dropping the ball and just trying to protect its own ass. At one point, in November 1957, CIA Director Allen Dulles phoned Dr. Knox Milsap, then the Chief Scientist at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico, at 4 A.M. (local time), to request an investigation of a reported (to the CIA) UFO landing in the nearby Organ Mountains. According to Dulles, a civilian had reportedly snapped photos of the landed UFO and the CIA had an urgent need to obtain the photos for its emergency study.

As part of the November 1957 emergency UFO study, the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) ‘levied a requirement’ (sent out an order) to the CIA’s Domestic Contact Service (DCS), which had offices in 35 to 40 larger cities across America. The Domestic Contact Service was part of the CIA’s Intelligence Directorate (DDI), and agents would normally show CIA IDs and say they were collecting intelligence for the CIA. (As opposed to the CIA’s Directorate of Plans—DDP—which was the clandestine or covert branch and utilized ‘back-stopped’ covers provided by the Central Cover Staff.)

After its emergency study, CIA officials once again came to the conclusion the Air Force was arbitrarily and capriciously explaining away UFO reports that might have important scientific or intelligence value. With Senator Lyndon Johnson’s support, the CIA again proposed to the National Security Council that it be given control of UFO studies.

This time the NSC secretly concurred, reportedly issuing an intelligence directive (NSCID) in early 1958, granting control of all scientific intelligence—which included the collection and analysis of UFO data—to the Central Intelligence Agency. The USAF was in turn relegated to the control of technical Intelligence, such as the collection and analysis of data pertaining to aircraft advances by the Soviet Union.

Although the Air Force continued to operate Project Blue Book until it was disbanded in 1969, Blue Book was not in the loop for classified intelligence reports on UFOs that were originated under JANAP 146E or CIRVIS reporting instructions for American defense forces, whereas the CIA was a primary recipient of such messages and reports. 11

In other words, according to Todd Zechel, the CIA has been running the show since 1958, at least as far as the collection and analysis of scientific intelligence on UFOs is concerned.

(Researcher Jan Aldrich disputes Zechel’s unequivocal statement regarding Blue Book being out of the loop for intelligence reports originated under JANAP 146E or CIRVIS, saying, “Project Blue Book did receive a large number of CIRVIS and MERINT reports. Maybe they didn’t receive all such reports, but Blue Book and the 4602d AISS have such reports in their files.󈭠 CIRVIS reports dealt with airborne UFO sightings by military pilots MERINT reports related to sightings by U.S. Naval personnel.)

Zechel’s research into the CIA’s covert, UFO-related activities was often augmented by information gleaned from former agency insiders with whom he had developed something vaguely resembling personal relationships. During several visits with him in the 1980s, he provided me with a great many details—far more than I can present here—relating to various conversations he had with those persons.

To be entirely candid, Zechel audio taped most of those discussions without the other person’s knowledge. His view was that the importance of the information he was gathering outweighed the legal and moral questions surrounding the surreptitious recording of other persons without their prior consent. I am in no way defending or justifying Todd’s actions here I am simply stating facts.

Nevertheless, Zechel’s investigations into the extent of the CIA’s actual involvement with UFOs are considered to be without peer by many researchers, including myself. While he was never able to mount a follow-up lawsuit against the agency—in an effort to force the release of the CIA’s TOP SECRET UFO documents—Todd’s initial work in the late 1970s (together with researcher Brad Sparks and attorney Peter Gersten) was a milestone of sorts, and remains a testament to one American citizen’s attempt to learn what his government was hiding from the public on this monumentally-important subject.

In my view, Zechel’s research convincingly paints a picture of CIA involvement in the collection and analysis of UFO data which is clearly at odds with the official portrait offered by the agency itself. While the CIA’s carefully-reinforced public image is one of occasional agency concern over certain UFO sighting reports—all of them occurring long ago, of course—and involvement in a few low-level studies, Zechel’s work has revealed a much broader and far more authoritative CIA role in the official U.S. government cover-up of UFOs.

1. Marchetti, Victor. “How the CIA views the UFO Phenomenon”, Second Look, Vol. 1, No. 7, May 1979

4. Greenwood, Barry and Fawcett, Lawrence. Clear Intent: The Government Cover-up of the UFO Experience, Prentice-Hall Inc., 1984, pp. 112-13

10. Marchetti, Victor. “Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History”, Journal of Historical Review, Vol.20. No.1, 2001


Contents

Origin of cryptonym Edit

The project's CIA cryptonym is a combination of the digraph MK, indicating the sponsorship of the Technical Services Staff (TSS), and the word Ultra which formerly designated the most secret classification of World War II intelligence. Other related cryptonyms include Project MKNAOMI and Project MKDELTA.

Origin of project Edit

According to author Stephen Kinzer, the CIA project "was a continuation of the work begun in WWII-era Japanese facilities and Nazi concentration camps on subduing and controlling human minds". Kinzer wrote that MKUltra's use of mescaline on unwitting subjects was a practice that Nazi doctors had begun in the Dachau concentration camp. Kinzer proposes evidence of the continuation of a Nazi agenda, citing the CIA's secret recruitment of Nazi torturers and vivisectionists to continue the experimentation on thousands of subjects, and Nazis brought to Fort Detrick, Maryland, to instruct CIA officers on the lethal uses of sarin gas. [13]

Aims and leadership Edit

The project was headed by Sidney Gottlieb but began on the order of CIA director Allen Dulles on April 13, 1953. [24] [25] Its aim was to develop mind-controlling drugs for use against the Soviet bloc in response to alleged Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean use of mind control techniques on U.S. prisoners of war during the Korean War. [26] The CIA wanted to use similar methods on their own captives, and was interested in manipulating foreign leaders with such techniques, [27] devising several schemes to drug Fidel Castro. It often conducted experiments without the subjects' knowledge or consent. [28] In some cases, academic researchers were funded through grants from CIA front organizations but were unaware that the CIA was using their work for these purposes. [29]

The project attempted to produce a perfect truth drug for interrogating suspected Soviet spies during the Cold War, and to explore other possibilities of mind control. Subproject 54 was the Navy's top-secret "Perfect Concussion" program, which was supposed to use sub-aural frequency blasts to erase memory the program was never carried out. [30]

Most MKUltra records were destroyed in 1973 by order of CIA director Richard Helms, so it has been difficult for investigators to gain a complete understanding of the more than 150 funded research subprojects sponsored by MKUltra and related CIA programs. [31]

The project began during a period of what English journalist Rupert Cornwell described as "paranoia" at the CIA, when the U.S. had lost its nuclear monopoly and fear of communism was at its height. [32] CIA counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton believed that a mole had penetrated the organization at the highest levels. [32] The agency poured millions of dollars into studies examining ways to influence and control the mind and to enhance its ability to extract information from resistant subjects during interrogation. [33] [34] Some historians assert that one goal of MKUltra and related CIA projects was to create a "Manchurian Candidate"-style subject. [35] American historian Alfred W. McCoy has claimed that the CIA attempted to focus media attention on these sorts of "ridiculous" programs so that the public would not look at the research's primary goal, which was effective methods of interrogation. [33]

Scale of project Edit

One 1955 MKUltra document gives an indication of the size and range of the effort. It refers to the study of an assortment of mind-altering substances described as follows: [36]

  1. Substances which will promote illogical thinking and impulsiveness to the point where the recipient would be discredited in public.
  2. Substances which increase the efficiency of mentation and perception.
  3. Materials which will prevent or counteract the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
  4. Materials which will promote the intoxicating effect of alcohol.
  5. Materials which will produce the signs and symptoms of recognized diseases in a reversible way so they may be used for malingering, etc.
  6. Materials which will render the induction of hypnosis easier or otherwise enhance its usefulness.
  7. Substances which will enhance the ability of individuals to withstand privation, torture, and coercion during interrogation and so-called "brain-washing".
  8. Materials and physical methods which will produce amnesia for events preceding and during their use.
  9. Physical methods of producing shock and confusion over extended periods of time and capable of surreptitious use.
  10. Substances which produce physical disablement such as paralysis of the legs, acute anemia, etc.
  11. Substances which will produce "pure" euphoria with no subsequent let-down.
  12. Substances which alter personality structure in such a way the tendency of the recipient to become dependent upon another person is enhanced.
  13. A material which will cause mental confusion of such a type the individual under its influence will find it difficult to maintain a fabrication under questioning.
  14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.
  15. Substances which promote weakness or distortion of the eyesight or hearing faculties, preferably without permanent effects.
  16. A knockout pill which can be surreptitiously administered in drinks, food, cigarettes, as an aerosol, etc., which will be safe to use, provide a maximum of amnesia, and be suitable for use by agent types on an ad hoc basis.
  17. A material which can be surreptitiously administered by the above routes and which in very small amounts will make it impossible for a person to perform physical activity.

Applications Edit

The 1976 Church Committee report found that, in the MKDELTA program, "Drugs were used primarily as an aid to interrogations, but MKULTRA/MKDELTA materials were also used for harassment, discrediting or disabling purposes." [37] [38] [39]

Other related projects Edit

In 1964, MKSEARCH was the name given to the continuation of the MKULTRA program. The MKSEARCH program was divided into two projects dubbed MKOFTEN and MKCHICKWIT. Funding for MKSEARCH commenced in 1965, and ended in 1971. [40] The project was a joint project between the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and the CIA's Office of Research and Development to find new offensive-use agents, with a focus on incapacitating agents. Its purpose was to develop, test, and evaluate capabilities in the covert use of biological, chemical, and radioactive material systems and techniques of producing predictable human behavioral and/or physiological changes in support of highly sensitive operational requirements. [40]

By March 1971 over 26,000 potential agents had been acquired for future screening. [41] The CIA was interested in bird migration patterns for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) research subproject 139 designated "Bird Disease Studies" at Penn State. [42]

MKOFTEN was to deal with testing and toxicological transmissivity and behavioral effects of drugs in animals and, ultimately, humans. [40]

MKCHICKWIT was concerned with acquiring information on new drug developments in Europe and Asia, and with acquiring samples. [40]

CIA documents suggest that they investigated "chemical, biological, and radiological" methods of mind control as part of MKUltra. [43] They spent an estimated $10 million or more, roughly $87.5 million adjusted for inflation. [44]

LSD Edit

Early CIA efforts focused on LSD-25, which later came to dominate many of MKUltra's programs. [45] The CIA wanted to know if they could make Soviet spies defect against their will and whether the Soviets could do the same to the CIA's own operatives. [46]

Once Project MKUltra got underway in April 1953, experiments included administering LSD to mental patients, prisoners, drug addicts, and sex workers – "people who could not fight back," as one agency officer put it. [47] In one case, they administered LSD to a mental patient in Kentucky for 174 days. [47] They also administered LSD to CIA employees, military personnel, doctors, other government agents, and members of the general public to study their reactions. LSD and other drugs were often administered without the subject's knowledge or informed consent, a violation of the Nuremberg Code the U.S. had agreed to follow after World War II. The aim of this was to find drugs which would bring out deep confessions or wipe a subject's mind clean and program them as "a robot agent." [48]

In Operation Midnight Climax, the CIA set up several brothels within agency safehouses in San Francisco to obtain a selection of men who would be too embarrassed to talk about the events. The men were dosed with LSD, the brothels were equipped with one-way mirrors, and the sessions were filmed for later viewing and study. [49] In other experiments where people were given LSD without their knowledge, they were interrogated under bright lights with doctors in the background taking notes. They told subjects they would extend their "trips" if they refused to reveal their secrets. The people under this interrogation were CIA employees, U.S. military personnel, and agents suspected of working for the other side in the Cold War. Long-term debilitation and several deaths resulted from this. [48] Heroin addicts were bribed into taking LSD with offers of more heroin. [19] [50]

At the invitation of Stanford psychology graduate student Vik Lovell, an acquaintance of Richard Alpert and Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey volunteered to take part in what turned out to be a CIA-financed study under the aegis of MKUltra, [51] at the Menlo Park Veterans' Hospital [52] [53] where he worked as a night aide. [54] The project studied the effects of psychoactive drugs, particularly LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine, AMT and DMT on people. [55]

The Office of Security used LSD in interrogations, but Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the chemist who directed MKUltra, had other ideas: he thought it could be used in covert operations. Since its effects were temporary, he believed it could be given to high-ranking officials and in this way affect the course of important meetings, speeches, etc. Since he realized there was a difference in testing the drug in a laboratory and using it in clandestine operations, he initiated a series of experiments where LSD was given to people in "normal" settings without warning. At first, everyone in Technical Services tried it a typical experiment involved two people in a room where they observed each other for hours and took notes. As the experimentation progressed, a point arrived where outsiders were drugged with no explanation whatsoever and surprise acid trips became something of an occupational hazard among CIA operatives. Adverse reactions often occurred, such as an operative who received the drug in his morning coffee, became psychotic and ran across Washington, seeing a monster in every car passing him. The experiments continued even after Frank Olson, an army chemist who had never taken LSD, was covertly dosed by his CIA supervisor and nine days later plunged to his death from the window of a 13th-story New York City hotel room, supposedly as a result of deep depression induced by the drug. [56] According to Stephen Kinzer, Olson had approached his superiors some time earlier, doubting the morality of the project, and asked to resign from the CIA. [57]

Some subjects' participation was consensual, and in these cases they appeared to be singled out for even more extreme experiments. In one case, seven volunteers in Kentucky were given LSD for seventy-seven consecutive days. [58]

MKUltra's researchers later dismissed LSD as too unpredictable in its results. [59] They gave up on the notion that LSD was "the secret that was going to unlock the universe," but it still had a place in the cloak-and-dagger arsenal. However, by 1962 the CIA and the army developed a series of super-hallucinogens such as the highly touted BZ, which was thought to hold greater promise as a mind control weapon. This resulted in the withdrawal of support by many academics and private researchers, and LSD research became less of a priority altogether. [56]

Other drugs Edit

Another technique investigated was the intravenous administration of a barbiturate into one arm and an amphetamine into the other. [60] The barbiturates were released into the person first, and as soon as the person began to fall asleep, the amphetamines were released. The person would begin babbling incoherently, and it was sometimes possible to ask questions and get useful answers.

Hypnosis Edit

Declassified MKUltra documents indicate they studied hypnosis in the early 1950s. Experimental goals included the creation of "hypnotically induced anxieties," "hypnotically increasing ability to learn and recall complex written matter," studying hypnosis and polygraph examinations, "hypnotically increasing ability to observe and recall complex arrangements of physical objects" and studying "relationship of personality to susceptibility to hypnosis." [62] They conducted experiments with drug-induced hypnosis and with anterograde and retrograde amnesia while under the influence of such drugs.

The CIA exported experiments to Canada when they recruited British psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron, creator of the "psychic driving" concept, which the CIA found interesting. Cameron had been hoping to correct schizophrenia by erasing existing memories and reprogramming the psyche. He commuted from Albany, New York to Montreal every week to work at the Allan Memorial Institute of McGill University, and was paid $69,000 from 1957 to 1964 (which would be US$579,480 in 2021, adjusting for inflation) to carry out MKUltra experiments there, the Montreal experiments. These research funds were sent to Cameron by a CIA front organization, the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, and as shown in internal CIA documents, Cameron did not know the money came from the CIA. [63] ( pp141–142 )

In addition to LSD, Cameron also experimented with various paralytic drugs as well as electroconvulsive therapy at thirty to forty times the normal power. His "driving" experiments consisted of putting subjects into drug-induced comas for weeks at a time (up to three months in one case) while playing tape loops of noise or simple repetitive statements. His experiments were often carried out on patients who entered the institute for common problems such as anxiety disorders and postpartum depression, many of whom suffered permanent effects from his actions. [63] ( pp140–150 ) His treatments resulted in victims' urinary incontinence, amnesia, forgetting how to talk, forgetting their parents and thinking their interrogators were their parents. [64]

During this era, Cameron became known worldwide as the first chairman of the World Psychiatric Association as well as president of both the American Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association. Cameron was also a member of the Nuremberg medical tribunal in 1946–1947. [63] ( p141 )

Motivation and assessments Edit

His work was inspired and paralleled by the British psychiatrist William Sargant at St Thomas' Hospital, London, and Belmont Hospital, Sutton, who was also involved in the Secret Intelligence Service and who experimented on his patients without their consent, causing similar long-term damage. [65]

In the 1980s, several of Cameron's former patients sued the CIA for damages, which the Canadian news program The Fifth Estate documented. [66] Their experiences and lawsuit was made into a 1998 television miniseries called The Sleep Room. [67]

Naomi Klein argues in her book The Shock Doctrine that Cameron's research and his contribution to the MKUltra project was not about mind control and brainwashing, but about designing "a scientifically based system for extracting information from 'resistant sources'. In other words, torture." [68]

Alfred W. McCoy writes, "Stripped of its bizarre excesses, Dr. Cameron's experiments, building upon Donald O. Hebb's earlier breakthrough, laid the scientific foundation for the CIA's two-stage psychological torture method", [69] referring to first creating a state of disorientation in the subject, and then creating a situation of "self-inflicted" discomfort in which the disoriented subject can alleviate their pain by capitulating. [69]

In areas under American control in the early 1950s in Europe and East Asia, mostly Japan, Germany and the Philippines, the CIA created secret detention centers so that the U.S. could avoid criminal prosecution. The CIA captured people suspected of being enemy agents and other people it deemed "expendable" to undertake various types of torture and human experimentation on them. The prisoners were interrogated while being administered psychoactive drugs, electroshocked and subjected to extremes of temperature, sensory isolation and the like to develop a better understanding of how to destroy and to control human minds. [13]

In 1973, amid a government-wide panic caused by Watergate, CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed. [70] Pursuant to this order, most CIA documents regarding the project were destroyed, making a full investigation of MKUltra impossible. A cache of some 20,000 documents survived Helms's purge, as they had been incorrectly stored in a financial records building and were discovered following a FOIA request in 1977. These documents were fully investigated during the Senate Hearings of 1977. [7]

In December 1974, The New York Times alleged that the CIA had conducted illegal domestic activities, including experiments on U.S. citizens, during the 1960s. [71] That report prompted investigations by the United States Congress, in the form of the Church Committee, and by a commission known as the Rockefeller Commission that looked into the illegal domestic activities of the CIA, the FBI and intelligence-related agencies of the military.

In the summer of 1975, congressional Church Committee reports and the presidential Rockefeller Commission report revealed to the public for the first time that the CIA and the Department of Defense had conducted experiments on both unwitting and cognizant human subjects as part of an extensive program to find out how to influence and control human behavior through the use of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and mescaline and other chemical, biological, and psychological means. They also revealed that at least one subject, Frank Olson had died after administration of LSD. Much of what the Church Committee and the Rockefeller Commission learned about MKUltra was contained in a report, prepared by the Inspector General's office in 1963, that had survived the destruction of records ordered in 1973. [72] However, it contained little detail. Sidney Gottlieb, who had retired from the CIA two years previously and had headed MKUltra, was interviewed by the committee but claimed to have very little recollection of the activities of MKUltra. [18]

The congressional committee investigating the CIA research, chaired by Senator Frank Church, concluded that "prior consent was obviously not obtained from any of the subjects". The committee noted that the "experiments sponsored by these researchers . call into question the decision by the agencies not to fix guidelines for experiments."

Following the recommendations of the Church Committee, President Gerald Ford in 1976 issued the first Executive Order on Intelligence Activities which, among other things, prohibited "experimentation with drugs on human subjects, except with the informed consent, in writing and witnessed by a disinterested party, of each such human subject" and in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National Commission. Subsequent orders by Presidents Carter and Reagan expanded the directive to apply to any human experimentation.

In 1977, during a hearing held by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to look further into MKUltra, Admiral Stansfield Turner, then Director of Central Intelligence, revealed that the CIA had found a set of records, consisting of about 20,000 pages, [73] that had survived the 1973 destruction orders because they had been incorrectly stored at a records center not usually used for such documents. [72] These files dealt with the financing of MKUltra projects and contained few project details, but much more was learned from them than from the Inspector General's 1963 report.

On the Senate floor in 1977, Senator Ted Kennedy said:

The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an "extensive testing and experimentation" program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens "at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign." Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to "unwitting subjects in social situations. [ This quote needs a citation ]

At least one death, the result of the defenestration of Dr. Frank Olson, was attributed to Olson's being subjected, unaware, to such experimentation, nine days before his death. The CIA itself subsequently acknowledged that these tests had little scientific rationale. The agents conducting the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers. [74] [75]

In Canada, the issue took much longer to surface, becoming widely known in 1984 on a CBC news show, The Fifth Estate. It was learned that not only had the CIA funded Dr. Cameron's efforts, but also that the Canadian government was fully aware of this, and had later provided another $500,000 in funding to continue the experiments. This revelation largely derailed efforts by the victims to sue the CIA as their U.S. counterparts had, and the Canadian government eventually settled out of court for $100,000 to each of the 127 victims. Dr. Cameron died on September 8, 1967, after suffering a heart attack while he and his son were mountain climbing. None of Cameron's personal records of his involvement with MKUltra survived, since his family destroyed them after his death. [76] [77]

1994 U.S. General Accounting Office report Edit

The U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report on September 28, 1994, which stated that between 1940 and 1974, DOD and other national security agencies studied thousands of human subjects in tests and experiments involving hazardous substances.

Working with the CIA, the Department of Defense gave hallucinogenic drugs to thousands of "volunteer" soldiers in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to LSD, the Army also tested quinuclidinyl benzilate, a hallucinogen code-named BZ. (Note 37) Many of these tests were conducted under the so-called MKULTRA program, established to counter perceived Soviet and Chinese advances in brainwashing techniques. Between 1953 and 1964, the program consisted of 149 projects involving drug testing and other studies on unwitting human subjects

Given the CIA's purposeful destruction of most records, its failure to follow informed consent protocols with thousands of participants, the uncontrolled nature of the experiments, and the lack of follow-up data, the full impact of MKUltra experiments, including deaths, may never be known. [31] [36] [78] [79]

Several known deaths have been associated with Project MKUltra, most notably that of Frank Olson. Olson, a United States Army biochemist and biological weapons researcher, was given LSD without his knowledge or consent in November 1953, as part of a CIA experiment, and died by suicide by jumping out of a 13th-story window a week later. A CIA doctor assigned to monitor Olson claimed to have been asleep in another bed in a New York City hotel room when Olson fell to his death. In 1953, Olson's death was described as a suicide that had occurred during a severe psychotic episode. The CIA's own internal investigation concluded that the head of MKUltra, CIA chemist Sidney Gottlieb, had conducted the LSD experiment with Olson's prior knowledge, although neither Olson nor the other men taking part in the experiment were informed as to the exact nature of the drug until some 20 minutes after its ingestion. The report further suggested that Gottlieb was nonetheless due a reprimand, as he had failed to take into account Olson's already-diagnosed suicidal tendencies, which might have been exacerbated by the LSD. [80]

The Olson family disputes the official version of events. They maintain that Frank Olson was murdered because, especially in the aftermath of his LSD experience, he had become a security risk who might divulge state secrets associated with highly classified CIA programs, about many of which he had direct personal knowledge. [81] A few days before his death, Frank Olson quit his position as acting chief of the Special Operations Division at Detrick, Maryland (later Fort Detrick) because of a severe moral crisis concerning the nature of his biological weapons research. Among Olson's concerns were the development of assassination materials used by the CIA, the CIA's use of biological warfare materials in covert operations, experimentation with biological weapons in populated areas, collaboration with former scientists under Operation Paperclip, LSD mind-control research, and the use of psychoactive drugs during "terminal" interrogations under a program code-named Project ARTICHOKE. [82] Later forensic evidence conflicted with the official version of events when Olson's body was exhumed in 1994, cranial injuries indicated that Olson had been knocked unconscious before he exited the window. [80] The medical examiner termed Olson's death a "homicide". [83] In 1975, Olson's family received a $750,000 settlement from the U.S. government and formal apologies from President Gerald Ford and CIA Director William Colby, though their apologies were limited to informed consent issues concerning Olson's ingestion of LSD. [79] On 28 November 2012, the Olson family filed suit against the U.S. federal government for the wrongful death of Frank Olson. [84] The case was dismissed in July 2013, due in part to the 1976 settlement between the family and government. [85] In the decision dismissing the suit, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote, "While the court must limit its analysis to the four corners of the complaint, the skeptical reader may wish to know that the public record supports many of the allegations [in the family's suit], farfetched as they may sound." [86]

A 2010 book by H. P. Albarelli Jr. alleged that the 1951 Pont-Saint-Esprit mass poisoning was part of MKDELTA, that Olson was involved in that event, and that he was eventually murdered by the CIA. [87] [88] However, academic sources attribute the incident to ergot poisoning through a local bakery. [89] [90] [91]

The revelations about the CIA and the army prompted a number of subjects or their survivors to file lawsuits against the federal government for conducting experiments without informed consent. Although the government aggressively, and sometimes successfully, sought to avoid legal liability, several plaintiffs did receive compensation through court order, out-of-court settlement, or acts of Congress. Frank Olson's family received $750,000 by a special act of Congress, and both President Ford and CIA director William Colby met with Olson's family to apologize publicly.

Previously, the CIA and the army had actively and successfully sought to withhold incriminating information, even as they secretly provided compensation to the families. One subject of army drug experimentation, James Stanley, an army sergeant, brought an important, albeit unsuccessful, suit. The government argued that Stanley was barred from suing under the Feres doctrine.

In 1987, the Supreme Court affirmed this defense in a 5–4 decision that dismissed Stanley's case: United States v. Stanley. [92] The majority argued that "a test for liability that depends on the extent to which particular suits would call into question military discipline and decision making would itself require judicial inquiry into, and hence intrusion upon, military matters." In dissent, Justice William Brennan argued that the need to preserve military discipline should not protect the government from liability and punishment for serious violations of constitutional rights:

The medical trials at Nuremberg in 1947 deeply impressed upon the world that experimentation with unknowing human subjects is morally and legally unacceptable. The United States Military Tribunal established the Nuremberg Code as a standard against which to judge German scientists who experimented with human subjects. [I]n defiance of this principle, military intelligence officials . began surreptitiously testing chemical and biological materials, including LSD.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing a separate dissent, stated:

No judicially crafted rule should insulate from liability the involuntary and unknowing human experimentation alleged to have occurred in this case. Indeed, as Justice Brennan observes, the United States played an instrumental role in the criminal prosecution of Nazi officials who experimented with human subjects during the Second World War, and the standards that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals developed to judge the behavior of the defendants stated that the 'voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential . to satisfy moral, ethical, and legal concepts.' If this principle is violated, the very least that society can do is to see that the victims are compensated, as best they can be, by the perpetrators.

In another lawsuit, Wayne Ritchie, a former United States Marshal, after hearing about the project's existence in 1990, alleged the CIA laced his food or drink with LSD at a 1957 Christmas party which resulted in his attempting to commit a robbery at a bar and his subsequent arrest. While the government admitted it was, at that time, drugging people without their consent, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel found Ritchie could not prove he was one of the victims of MKUltra or that LSD caused his robbery attempt and dismissed the case in 2005. [93] [94]

    American poet Allen Ginsberg first took LSD in an experiment on Stanford University's campus where he could listen to records of his choice (he chose a Gertrude Stein reading, a Tibetan mandala, and Wagner). He said the experience resulted in "a slight paranoia that hung on all my acid experiences through the mid-1960s until I learned from meditation how to disperse that." [95] He became an outspoken advocate for psychedelics in the 1960s and, after hearing suspicions that the experiment was CIA-funded, wrote, "Am I, Allen Ginsberg, the product one of the CIA's lamentable, ill-advised, or triumphantly successful experiments in mind control?" [96] , author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is said to have volunteered for MKUltra experiments involving LSD and other psychedelic drugs at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Menlo Park while he was a student at nearby Stanford University. Kesey's experiences while under the influence of LSD inspired him to promote the drug outside the context of the MKUltra experiments, which influenced the early development of hippie culture. [97][55] was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator, and poet, best known for his association with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Along with Ken Kesey, Hunter was said to be an early volunteer MKUltra test subject at Stanford University. Stanford test subjects were paid to take LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, then report on their experiences. These experiences were creatively formative for Hunter:

Sit back picture yourself swooping up a shell of purple with foam crests of crystal drops soft nigh they fall unto the sea of morning creep-very-softly mist . and then sort of cascade tinkley-bell-like (must I take you by the hand, ever so slowly type) and then conglomerate suddenly into a peal of silver vibrant uncomprehendingly, blood singingly, joyously resounding bells . By my faith if this be insanity, then for the love of God permit me to remain insane. [98]

    , an American domestic terrorist known as the Unabomber, was said to be a subject of a voluntary psychological study alleged by some sources to have been a part of MKUltra. [101][102][103] As a sophomore at Harvard, Kaczynski participated in a study described by author Alston Chase as a "purposely brutalizing psychological experiment", led by Harvard psychologist Henry Murray. [104][105] In total, Kaczynski spent 200 hours as part of the study. [106] was the attorney for Sirhan Sirhan who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, and he believed that Sirhan was "operating under MK-ULTRA mind control techniques". [107]

After retiring in 1972, Gottlieb dismissed his entire effort for the CIA's MKUltra program as useless. [32] [108] The CIA insists that MKUltra-type experiments have been abandoned.

MKUltra plays a part in many conspiracy theories due to its nature and the destruction of most records. [109]