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A strong case for ignoring history
Honest UFO status reports are career killers
Merry Christmas — now where’s that fucking UAP report?
In the spirit of seasonal harmony and goodwill, I’ve decided to give my futile rants about the ODNI’s tardy UFO report to Congress a rest. Instead, I’ve decided to hoist a spiked eggnog to those luckless military/IC careerists who’ve been ordered to pull a rabbit out of a hat in hopes of mollifying lawmakers still breathing down the necks of powerful reality-deniers hanging on to the tiger’s tail.
In all likelihood, the designated authors of this anticipated report didn’t volunteer for the job. This work order isn’t like using existing data to upgrade counterinsurgency strategies or armoring military infrastructure for climate change. Unless they were issued TS/SCI security clearances or (worse) forced to dust off the University of Colorado’s worthless 1968 stroke job on the USAF’s Project Blue Book, the authors had zero official context to consult for reference. So not only do they face a fierce learning curve, they’re also having to answer to small but increasingly literate American audiences who, through decades of cultural acclimatization, aren’t nearly as ignorant or attention-challenged about The Great Taboo as the brass dearly hopes they are.
If I had to bet, I’d wager the authors endured a crash course stitched together from rigidly screened 21st-century incident reports. I’d also wager they looked to the ODNI’s 9-page June 2021 UAP report as a desperate template, reworked and rolled out like some slapstick “Weekend at Bernie’s” carcass to convince the world that everything’s still cool over here at Uncle Sam’s joint. If we ever do get to see the report, I’m strapping on waders for word-salad variations of UAP probably do represent physical objects and UAP probably lack a single explanation and Could be attributable to development and classified programs by U.S. entities and Standardized reporting would require additional investment.
Let’s blame Congress
Maybe we should blame Congress for the impasse; after all, its mandate to ODNI/SecDef was untenable from the get-go. Again, Section 1683 of its 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, under Annual Report provision (h)(2)(B), requires an accounting of “All reported unidentified phenomena-related events that occurred during a period other than that one-year period but were not included in an earlier report.” The referenced time frame runs from late 2021 to Oct. 31. The “earlier report” means data collected by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force from 2004 to 2021.
Did you catch that word? All?
Do you know how many all is?
Nobody does. Not even David Marler.
For more than three decades, the author of Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation has tried to wrap his head around the insane volume of information generated over the last 75 years, in government files, private archives, newspapers, ‘zines, etc. If they weren’t so well organized, the vertical shelving, cabinets and library-sized sprawl of related books consuming his house outside Albuquerque, N.M., might serve as Exhibit A for hoarder syndrome. But last month, with major assists from a handful of longtime researchers, Marler announced his intent to go even bigger with a nonprofit called the National UFO Historical Records Center.
Once consolidated, Marler’s already staggering inventory will include the complete files of the old National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, the Center for UFO Studies, astronomer/Blue Book consultant J. Allen Hynek, the Civilian Saucer Intelligence group, maybe the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, and personal collections from old-guard archivists Rob Swiatek, Rod Dyke, Barry Roth, Mark Rodeghier, Jan Aldrich, and Barry Greenwood (whose FOIA-sourced 1984 book Clear Intent actually set me on this thankless path). Just to name a few.
The search for patterns
The NUFOHRC will also gather material from abroad, with the aim of transferring the whole spread online for public access. The group is scouting for decent storage space, with the ultimate goal of archive management by the University of New Mexico.
“I just sent Dave 48 boxes of stuff, and that’s nothing. I’ve still got six rooms and two storage lockers full of UFO stuff,” says Aldrich, cofounder of Project 1947’s scanned historical primary-source records going back to WWII. The cautionary tale here – getting back to the NDAA’s request for all government UFO records – is the haphazard and arbitrary nature of what’s been saved and lost over the decades. Aldrich summarizes an account of his rediscoveries during his collaborative efforts with NUFOHRC. Among them are official logs from Vandenberg AFB involving a rash of radar-visual sightings that triggered jet fighter scrambles in 1967. He managed to find the documents in private hands after first hearing about them 50 years ago.
“What these records give us is a bigger picture in order to see the patterns, which is what any good investigation needs,” he tells LiJ. “I remember (Navy F-18 pilot David) Fravor saying how he took his aircraft down to intercept (the Tic Tac UFO), and that when he tried to cut it off, the UFO started reflecting his own maneuvers, like it was copying him.
“Well, that’s right out of what happened in Chorwon, Korea, in 1952. An F-94 pilot starts to intercept this unknown object and as he tries to get into position to intercept, this thing is mirroring his own maneuvers, so he can’t. When the thing finally decided it wasn’t playing anymore, it shot straight up and disappeared. I think this is important to know.”
It is. But what may be going on backstage with the month-overdue UAP report is likely just the latest remake of a movie that played here before most of us were around. That one starred Gen. Charles Cabell, the Air Force Director of Intelligence who tried unsuccessfully to thread the UFO needle beginning in 1948. Walking a line between imperatives for reliable data from USAF pilots while urging the public to worry about something else, Cabell issued his now-famous JANAP 146(B) orders in 1951.
And that JFK thing
These “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings” weren’t a joke. They gave service-wide notification that UFO intel was on par with Soviet missiles, they provided channels for reporting the encounters, and they warned that information control was governed by espionage laws. And as Blue Book was shutting down in 1969, USAF Gen. Carroll Bolender stated in a classic memo that, in compliance with JANAP 146, UFO reports with national-security overtones will continue to be routed away from Blue Book.
Cabell had declared during a UFO meeting with Pentagon officials in ’51 that “anyone that doesn’t keep an open mind can get out, now.” But during that briefing, when he was informed that his top UFO project managers were busily dumbing down, misrepresenting, and tossing reports, the General blew his stack. “I’ve been lied to, and lied to, and lied to. I want it to stop. And I want an answer to the saucers and I want a good answer.”
Obviously, Cabell never got it. What he got instead — after letting go of the UFO bone — was a promotion to staff director for the Joint Chiefs, then to Deputy CIA Director. He had a good run until JFK cleaned house in 1961 after the Bay of Pigs. Oh, and just so you know, Cabell’s brother Earle was the mayor of Dallas when Kennedy’s head was blown off in 1963, so there’s that ...
Anyway, to you content providers out there who’ve been charged with contributing to the doomed UAP report for lawmakers, I get it. High-level careers are probably being made or tanked over what you’ve been allowed to produce. Just know that we know this hot mess isn’t your fault, and that this farce was scripted before you or your supervisors were born. It’s Chinatown, man …
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