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UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies and Realities: A Book Review

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Dirk Vander Ploeg's picture

UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies and Realities

By Dr. John Alexander

Reviewed by Dr. Bruce Maccabee

Whether or not you are “into” UFOs, this book could rock your world! 


UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies and Realities

Dr. Alexander’s blockbuster book is based on his many years of searching the top levels of government and military to find “the” group in charge of UFO information.  The negative result of his search shakes the foundations of the widely held belief that there has been a government conspiracy to cover up important UFO information related to UFO crashes and interactions with aliens.  This book could also rock your world if you are a nonbeliever because Dr. Alexander has cited some strong evidence that “UFOs are real.”  He also provides reality checks on some commonly held beliefs related to UFOs,  reverse engineering of alien technology, human-alien interactions, what has been done by the governments of other countries, animal mutilations, agriglyphs (“crop circles”) and military abductions.  Anyone seriously interested in studying the UFO phenomenon should read this book. 

I recall the first time we met.  It was way back in August, 1986, at the Naval Surface Weapons Center, a large Navy research facility at White Oak, Maryland (closed in 1996) where I worked on Navy physics research.  He had called me at work several days earlier and said he wanted to talk about UFOs.  He briefly described himself and what he wanted to talk about but, other than that, I knew nothing about him except that he was an Army Colonel who had a Top Secret Clearance with “tickets.”  I thought it strange, but only a little strange, that an army colonel would want to talk about UFOs because I had discovered during my previous years with the Navy that, in virtually every military organization or defense laboratory I had visited, there was one or more people interested in the subject.  I was not surprised that he wanted to talk to me in particular because I was working for the Navy and my UFO research into important sightings (unrelated to my Navy research work)  was well known in the UFO community (e.g. McMinnville, Oregon, 1950 photos, Gemini 11 astronaut photos, New Zealand sightings of December, 1978).  Also, it had long been known that there had been, over the years, sightings by Navy personnel, including the March, 1952 sighting by the pilot and co-pilot of Navy Secretary Dan Kimball’s aircraft while they were flying over the Pacific.  Kimball ordered a Navy study to begin after he got the “run around” from the Air Force.  (Exactly how long this study lasted is not known.).  Because of all of this Dr. Alexander probably wondered if I knew of a secret Navy group keeping track UFO phenomenology. 

I met him at the security office and, since this was an unclassified discussion, I escorted him directly to the dining hall and we got our food and sat down to eat and chat.  He began by saying that he had spent several years trying to discover what government organization, either civilian or military, was in charge of, or controlled, UFO-related information and research.  As I expected, he wanted to know if I had any evidence that the Navy studied UFOs. 

At this point I probably looked at him with a blank stare because I knew that many people previously had tried to find out what the government was doing and had come up empty handed.  The Air Force had been the publicly known lead agency for government UFO research for many years (Project Blue Book) but had abandoned all such research (they said!) in 1969.  Since then numerous government or military organizations had been suspected of secretly controlling access to UFO-related information and continuing UFO research, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Air Force Intelligence, etc., but no one had been able to specifically identify which organization, government or civilian, had the responsibility for continuing secret UFO research (and the associated cover up of UFO data and any hardware, as from the supposed Roswell crash).  

I answered his question: I was not aware of any Navy project that studied UFOs.  All the research work that I had done was done on my own time.  I also probably pointed out that the Navy had not interfered with my UFO research.  (The closest I came to any “censure” occurred in the spring of 1979 after my investigation of the New Zealand sightings became generally known [my research became the centerfold of the 8 page laboratory newspaper in April, 1979;  this “blew my cover” wide open!].  I was told to “leave the lab” out of it, i.e., if anyone asked I could say I worked for the Navy, but I was not supposed to say where.  [Note: The Naval Surface Weapons Center had been burned a year or so earlier by mention of the lab in an article written by Eldon Byrd that concerned Uri Geller’s ability to mentally “modify” NITINOL wire, a type of “memory metal” that was invented at NSWC.] ) 

Then Dr. Alexander got to the main point he wanted inform me about (dropped the bomb!):  “There is good news and there is bad news….. and they are the same!” 

“What is this news?” I asked. 

“The bad news is that there is no government organization in charge of UFOs.  The good news is the same.”

He went on to explain that the lack of a government agency with responsibility for UFO research was bad news because it meant that no one was officially “minding the store.”  On the other hand, it was good news because that left it up to the civilian sector, i.e., UFO researchers outside (and inside) the government, to do the research.  In other words, there would be no government interference with ufologists and the government, so far as his investigation had determined, was not covering up anything. 

My two-part immediate mental response was something like this:  (a) not impressed with this claim and (b) this guy doesn’t know what he is talking about!  I assumed that he had not looked in the right place (i.e., the right organization).  Even if he were to find the right place there is no guarantee that he would be told anything significant unless he were read into the project…in which case he wouldn’t be talking to me! 

That was my response because I had read many of the case files of Project Blue Book, the files of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the FBI Flying Disc File (the “real x-files”), the CIA UFO files, files of the National Security Agency and on and on, government files that had been released under the Freedom of Information Act in the latter 70’s and early ‘80’s.  I knew there were unexplained sightings described in these files.  I also knew that the files proved there had been at least some interest on the part of these government agencies.  Moreover, I knew there were other first-class sightings that weren’t in these files, sightings that proved there really was something strange going on, i.e., some UFO sightings couldn’t be explained as mundane phenomena.   I knew from reading certain documents in the FBI “X” file that by the latter half of 1952 some top people in the Air Force had concluded that at least some UFOs were “interplanetary craft” or that “these objects are not ships or missiles from another nation in this world.”  (To see these documents go to  http://www.brumac.8k.com/1952YEAROFUFO/1952YEAROFUFO.html

You may, of course, read the whole article which presents information in historical order.  However the particular documents referenced here are FBI memoranda dated 29 JULY 1952 [Commander Boyd to Agent Philcox] and 27 OCTOBER 1952 [author unknown] and appear roughly 2/3 of the way through the text.)  Therefore I found it hard to believe that the government could ignore the positive evidence contained in these files and have no research project going.  I, like most UFO investigators, including Dr. Alexander, assumed that someone or some organization was covering up first class sightings, in particular those by on-duty military personnel and equivalent sightings by technically trained civilians, especially instrumented sightings.  Then, of course, there was the supposed government-orchestrated cover up of hardware from the Roswell crash and any other hard evidence (dare I say, non-human bodies?).   And, of course, we can’t forget that, at that time (before the MJ-12 documents became available), there were rumors of  documents that implied a very top level, super top secret project to understand flying saucer physics and associated creatures.  And, of particular interest to me at that time, was the testimony of Hawk, who had been head of a advanced research branch of the Air Force.  His testimony alone, which I learned about eight or so months before talking to Dr. Alexander, if it could be proven true, was enough to “blow the lid off.”  (see  http://www.brumac.8k.com/HAWKTALES/)  Having this all in my mind, I wasn’t convinced.  Then, before he left, Dr. Alexander made reference to a “panel” he might put together to study the subject.  I presume this panel was the “Advanced Theoretical Physics” group he discusses in his book, but I didn’t know about that at the time.  We parted ways and I didn’t see him again for half a year.  And I was not invited to join any panel, although I was informed by my CIA contact that a “working group” had been started in early 1987 and I was told when various meetings were held and some of the information discussed. 

Well, that was then and this is now.  After 25 more years of searching, of “knocking on doors” and interrogating senior military officials and government scientists and leading technologists about UFO phenomena, Dr. Alexander claims to have confirmed his previous belief:  there is no secret UFO project, either within or outside the government.  And he backs up this conclusion with some very important evidence. 

Dr. Alexander states at the very beginning of his book that he has concluded from the available sighting information that unexplainable UFO sightings have occurred.  These indicate to him that some non-human intelligent life is the cause of the unexplainable sightings.  From that starting point he describes a sort of Odyssey through the halls of government, through the military research and technology organizations and other organizations as he searched for “the” government, military or civilian organization that, supposedly, controls the most important UFO information related to crashed saucers and interactions with aliens.  Other people have made similar searches but what sets Dr. Alexander’s story apart from the others is that he has had the upper level clearances that the others have lacked and he has had direct access to generals, admirals and people at the tops of military and civilian science and technology research organizations and also people at the tops of intelligence gathering organizations (e.g., CIA, NSA, DIA), i.e., government and non-government people who should know something about UFO related research if it were occurring somewhere.  

Dr. Alexander even contacted Lt. General Abrahamson who was in charge of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a.k.a. “Star Wars,” to find out whether or not SDI was prepared for the possibility that a UFO traveling through space near the earth could trigger special sensors and cause SDI weapons to fire, thus initiating WWIII.  There was an even more bizarre possibility, namely that the SDI weapons systems were configured to fight ET!  As he puts it, after the meeting it became abundantly clear to him that “fighting ET…was not even on their scope!” 

(NOTE:  I concur with Dr. Alexander’s claim that the weapons and fighting strategy which were considered during the SDI study were not designed for “fighting ET.”  I was a member of the SDI’s “Pilot Project” and sat in on numerous briefings by military and civilian [contractor] agencies in the spring of 1985.  Although I was, as you can imagine, looking for any indication, direct or indirect, that any part of the of the weapon architecture was designed to defend Earth from some sort of outside attack,  I saw nothing of the sort.  It occurred to me, too, that SDI sensors might detect a UFO, but I saw no evidence that the possibility of such a detection was taken into account in the analyses of SDI sensor systems.) 

Instead of locating a person who said (at the Top Secret level or any level of access), “Oh, yes, we do that,” he uniformly found that the people he talked to thought that any UFO related research would be carried out by some other person or group.   After being told, in effect, “someone else does that, but we don’t know who,” by dozens of people who would be most likely to know, Dr. Alexander has concluded, in stark contradiction to his initial assumption, that the government has no super-secret UFO research project!  Instead, he found that, whereas there may be personal interest of the people employed by various groups and agencies, there is (apparently) no institutional interest by the government.  He deduces from that conclusion, and from other information he presents in the book, that whatever crashed at Roswell was probably not a “flying saucer,”  that the numerous stories of government reverse engineering of a flying saucer are false, that the introduction of alien technology into our military technology never happened and that stories of direct government interactions with aliens (e.g., captured aliens, alien/human underground bases, war with the aliens, etc.) are spurious.  I expect that these conclusions will not sit well with many ufologists. 

Dr. Alexander’s book comes at a time of supposedly impending “disclosure,”  which refers to government disclosure of what it knows about UFOs or AFCs (Alien Flying Craft) and the aliens that pilot them (who are they, where do they come from, why are they here, what are they doing, etc.).  If this book is correct there will be no government disclosure because there is nothing to disclose.  (Of course, lack of disclosure does not prove the government knows nothing.  The government might know a lot and merely decide to continue the present policy of…you guessed it..non-disclosure.)  What a wet blanket on the “disclosure movement!”  I guess that also means that the “men-in-black” type of incidents over the last 60 or so years, wherein witnesses are told to “shut up” about their sightings and are sometimes threatened, were caused by rogue government employees (or impersonators) acting on their own time. 

There is a lot of important material in this book besides Dr. Alexander’s story of his search for the “Control Group.”  This book provides a description of how the system works, information that could be important for anyone who wishes to carry out his own search for the CG.  He discusses the problems with Philip Corso’s testimony as presented in his 1997 book,  The Day After Roswell.  He discusses the severe negative impact of the Condon study and the probable negative consequences for politicians for supporting new Congressional UFO hearings.  The book contains a “civics lesson” applicable to the politics of UFO research and investigation.  The author explains why the way that the bureaucracy appropriates and authorizes project funding and subsequently maintains project oversight makes it difficult to imagine that a  top secret, “black” UFO program could remain undiscovered in spite of  administration changes, and consequent personnel changes, over these many years and in spite of the associated disputes over which programs to keep and which to kill. He also explains why it is unlikely that UFO research is carried out under wraps by a government defense research contractor.  He discusses the UFO sightings and  related statements by Presidents, the difficulties in briefing Presidents about the subject  and points out that the consequences of a Presidential briefing would probably be no more than another Condon-type study.  He suggests that there might actually have been a “Majestic Twelve” group, but that, if so it may have been tasked to develop procedures for assuring the continuity of government in times of war or disaster and had nothing to do with UFOs.  Oddly enough, this suggestion could also imply that the Truman/Forestal document that started the MJ-12 project and the Cutler/Twining memorandum that refers to the MJ-12 Special Studies Project are valid documents (they have been called fakes based on their association with the UFO interpretation of MJ-12).  It has long been this reviewer’s opinion that those documents are real for reasons expressed elsewhere.  The Cutler/Twining memo can be seen at http://www.brumac.8k.com/CutlerTwiningMemo/CutlerTwining.html.  

Dr. Alexander has had conversations with several Apollo astronauts and other people familiar with NASA protocols and they all agree that there were no contingency plans related to astronauts detecting the presence of or interacting with extraterrestrials on or near the moon.  (This does not mean that there are no astronaut sightings.  See http://www.brumac.8k.com/Skylab3/SL3.html and http://www.brumac.8k.com/Gemini_11/GEMINI_11.html  ).  

Dr. Alexander discusses the claim by some conspiratorially minded ufologists that a downed flying saucer, such as at Roswell in 1947, has been analyzed during a deep black effort at reverse-engineering to produce an Alien Reproduction Vehicle (ARV).  Because of some of the unique dynamic capabilities reported in saucer sightings (hovering followed by extreme acceleration and sharp, e.g., 90 degree, turns), combined with the lack of evidence of fuel combustion (no exhaust, no flame, no noise) one may deduce that an ARV propulsion system would require a highly advanced power source, a source that could impact the conventional energy industry (by putting them out of business?).  Dr. Alexander argues that there is no convincing evidence that anyone has developed either an ARV or a power source based on alien (ET) technology. 

As pointed out above, Dr. Alexander clearly states his belief, based on testimonial and instrument aided sighting data that there are unexplainable UFO reports, i.e., in the vernacular, “UFOs are real.”  He presents over two dozen sightings to support his claim.  These range from the basic testimonials of individual witnesses to multiple witness and military sightings reported in the USA, in several South American countries, in Mexico, several countries in Europe,  China, Russia and so on.  He points out that many governments have, in the last decade or so, released sighting documents they have collected over the years.  He discusses in particular French and British document releases.  

The US government actually took the lead in document release beginning with the Blue Book files in 1975 and continuing with the FBI files in 1977, the CIA files in 1978, and in later years the NSA files, files of Air Force Intelligence and so on.   He argues that all these files indicate that the various governments have collected UFO reports, not because they are interested in the possibility of ET contact (or whatever the unexplainable UFOs represent), but because they have the responsibility of determining whether or not UFOs are a threat to the people.  Having concluded, rightly or wrongly, and he says wrongly (nuclear missiles have apparently been affected by UFOs and there have been military jet - UFO interactions ), that they are not a threat, the governments are “happy” to stop collecting UFO reports and turn that responsibility over to a civilian organization (such as MUFON in the USA).  Dr. Alexander discusses numerous other subjects of interest to ufologists such as the Skinwalker Ranch phenomena, cattle mutilations, agriglyphs, abductions, MILABS and so on. 

Regarding the supposed government “cover up/conspiracy, Dr. Alexander makes a strong case that it doesn’t exist.  However, I’m still not convinced.  As pointed out above, what I have read over the last 40 years, including government documents and numerous case studies of sightings that prove to me that at least some UFOs are AFCs, makes it difficult for me to accept the idea that there is no governmental or civilian (funded and monitored by the government) organization that studies AFCs.  But, if that is true, if the government really has no interest as claimed by Dr. Alexander, then government employees who have valuable UFO information may be able to release it (assuming it can be separated from classified conventional technology and/or from sources and methods of data collection) without fear of retribution from the government.  As Dr. Alexander has pointed out, none of the former government or military witnesses who have gone public has been arrested for revealing government UFO secrets.  

If there is no secret government information that has not already been released, then there will be no grand “Disclosure.”   Instead, disclosure will come slowly, as it has been for the last half-century,  from the investigations and analyses by ufologists. 

POSTSCRIPT: Dr. Alexander has mentioned our occasional discussions over the many years about what I learned about the CIA interest in the subject.  This is a long story (not as long as Alexander’s!) but boils down to this:  it always seemed to me when discussing UFO sightings with my CIA contact or others at the agency that I knew more about all facets of public UFO knowledge than they did.  In July, 1987, at a time of considerable publicity about the then-newly-released MJ-12 papers and government documents, I was invited to give a lunchtime lecture on UFOs to the CIA employees. (Note: lunchtime lectures by well known people were common at CIA headquarters.  It was at such a lunchtime lecture in February, 1986, that I heard Tom Clancy speak on how he managed to get so much accurate antisubmarine technical information into his first book, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.) My lecture was to be unclassified which was fine with me since I didn’t know any formally classified UFO information.  So,  at noon, with the director’s conference room packed (maybe as many as 50 people), I began my talk.  And, what did I talk about?  CIA generated UFO documents! 

Although I don’t now recall the details of what I said, I imagine that I gave a brief history of the UFO subject and then presented the information, historical and technical, that was found in the documents that the CIA had released in December, 1978, as a result of a FOIA lawsuit.  It turned out that the lecture was very informative because few of the listeners were aware that the CIA had ever been involved with the UFO subject. A day or so after the lecture I was informed that I had created a lot of “spies” in the agency.  That is, there were many requests to see those documents and employees were apparently asking each other who knew what and when and so on.  One lady who was planning to retire in a year or so, someone who had high level clearances, was so intrigued that she asked me if there was an organization where she could get a job researching UFOs using her particular expertise.  I, with some regret, had to inform her that I know of no such organization and that UFO research was not a paid activity. 

Quite a few ufologists believe that the CIA was secretly investigating UFOs and controlling access to the information.  Two events that involved me argue against this: (1) the CIA gave me the complete FAA file on the November, 1986, Japan Air Lines sighting (JAL 1628) immediately after a meeting at FAA investigators and (2) when Dr. John Gibbons asked the CIA representative in the Office Science and Technology Policy (he was the director of the OSTP and science advisor to President Clinton in early 1993) for a briefing, at any classification level, on the UFO subject, the CIA turned to me to provide that briefing!  So, the question is, if the CIA really had a secret group following the UFO phenomenon, why didn’t that group. Instead of me, get the FAA materials needed to study the JAL1628 sighting, and why didn’t the CIA employees themselves provide the briefing materials for Dr. Gibbons?

I presume that the answer to this question is that the CIA knew less about UFO investigation, UFO history and so on than I did.  (The reader of this review who is not already aware of my report on the JAL case and/or who is not aware of the briefing paper I wrote, will wonder what this is all about.  So, check out

 http://www.brumac.8k.com/JAL1628/JL1628.html   and

http://www.brumac.8k.com/Briefing/Briefing.html. ) 

During he late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s I had numerous interactions with the CIA as part of my Navy research.  There were, therefore, many opportunities for discussion of “Topic A” and I was often brought up to date on the activities of the members of the “Working Group,” even though I was not a member.  It was my impression that they were a group of lot of top level people searching and no one was finding.  Thus my experience supports Dr. Alexander’s claim that there is no super secret group.  And yet…

Many years later I asked one ardent searcher with very high level clearance (not Dr. Alexander) if he had ever, in his UFO searching, run into a closed door.  He said he had.  Does that mean that he had found the “control group?”  Not necessarily, but it does suggest that there might be one.  Moreover, this reminds me of Senator Barry Goldwater’s testimony that, sometime in the early ‘60’s, he asked General Curtis LeMay if he could have access to a secret room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  Supposedly secret UFO information was stored in this room.  According to Goldwater, LeMay became very angry and said something like, “Hell no, and don’t ever ask again!”

(To see a history of Goldwater go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

To see of video of Goldwater reciting his experience go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPFBg1NNUBU )

If you would like more information or to purchase this book from Amazon.com simply click on its title: UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities

 

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