Perhaps the most important "witness" in Nick Redfern's new book, Body Snatchers in the Desert, is the man he calls the Colonel. A quick glance at the index makes it clear that, of the four major "whistleblowers" that Redfern uses for sources, the Colonel gets the most play. Like the other four, the Colonel claimed unequivocally that "there has never been the crash and recovery of an alien spacecraft." He maintained that "the Roswell and other 1947 events were given a 'crashed UFO cover' to hide research that was linked with classified high-altitude balloon experiments and the Nuclear Energy for Propulsion of Aircraft project." (pp. 98 - 99)
The big question is whether or nor there is independent corroboration for the Colonel's story. As Nick himself notes, "if the Colonel's testimony stood alone, then one could rightly question its veracity." (p. 119) However, Nick claims that there is independent corroboration for The Colonel's "controversial" story, which he sets out in Chapter 11 (titled "Corroboration"). This independent corroboration, according to Nick, can be found in “documents and accounts by others,” and led him to conclude that the Colonel's account "does not stand alone."(p. 119).
With corroboration, however, one must consider both the source and the report. In Body Snatchers in the Desert, here is what Nick presents as "independent corroboration" for the Colonel's account, as found in Chapter 11:
(a) The family of Meyers Wahnee, a pilot and aircrew commander of the 714th Bomb Squadron, 448th Bomb Group, who, according to Nick, told Roswell researchers Don Schmitt and Tom Carey, that the Roswell incident was true, that he was involved, and that there were “decomposing body parts.” What Nick doesn’t mention – and what calls the story into serious question – is that Wahnee (an old man by the time he supposedly related his story) also said that there were three separate crash sites, which does not square with either the traditional "Roswell as an ET crash theory," or Nick’s.
(d) Dee and Loretta Proctor, who allegedly told Schmitt and Carey that, in 1994, with the 81-year-old Loretta Proctor extremely ill with a life-threatening blood clot in her neck, her reclusive son Dee felt compelled to drive her to a remote location on the former Foster ranch where he told her that Mack Brazel had found "something else." Assuming that this is true, neither Dee not Loretta would tell Schmitt and Carey what the “something else” was, and yet Nick (as did Schmitt and Carey in their original article, which Nick quotes from), assume it to be corroborative evidence that Brazel found bodies. This is, needless to say, pretty thin evidentiary gruel. It is hardly corroboration.
(c) Paul Helmick and Albert Collins. What these men supposedly said is irrelevant, because they allegedly said it to Timothy Cooper, the purveyor of literally hundreds of phoney MJ-12 documents. According to Nick, they provided “important data that may corroborate… aspects of the Colonel’s account.” However, any corroborative evidence that comes from Cooper is, at best, suspect, and, in fact, is most likely as worthless as his MJ-12 documents (see. pp. 120 – 122).
(d) Vicki Ecker, editor of UFO Magazine, is cited as corroboration by Nick (pp. 123 – 124). Why? Because, a decade ago, she wrote, “What if the Roswell crash was a failed nuclear experiment – either ours or somebody else’s… [What if] it wasn’t nuclear; but if it was, that aspect has been kept secret. Maybe it was still a test of some kind, using shaved monkeys – or even worse, captured Japanese prisoners, for instance – as experimental passengers on an ill-fated flight. Ergo, ‘alien bodies.’” This is not corroboration – this is speculation. The fact that Nick considered it to be worthy of inclusion in the “corroboration” section of his book is indicative of just how little real independent corroboration there is for the stories told by the "Big Four." Even more interesting is the fact that Ecker speculated about “shades of those hideous Nazi experiments” and “Japanese prisoners.” One must legitimately wonder if any of Nick’s four main “whistleblowers” ever read UFO Magazine – or other sources that made similar unfounded speculations?
(e) Dr. Jacques Vallee, Martin Cannon, and Karl Pflock are all cited as “corroboration” in chapter 11 (pp. 124 – 125). Why? Because each posited that the Roswell case may have been related to a secret government experiment of some sort. Again – a theory by one person does not qualify as corroboration of a theory by another person.
(f) There is William Moore, upon whom Nick relies for various pieces of information. As with Cooper, Moore – he of MJ-12 / Paul Bennewtiz / AFOSI infamy - is hardly a pillar of credibility.
At one point even Frank Kaufmann is cited as a reliable witness (p. 15)! This, needless to say, is not a good sign – as Stan Friedman has pointed out in his review of Body Snatchers in the Desert, even Kevin Randle, long the staunchest supporter of Kaufmann as a reliable witness, now admits that Kaufmann was a fraud.
(a) Silas Newton's diary – I believe Karl Pflock when he says he saw something that might have been Newton’s diary, but it has not been authenticated, nor has it been seen by anyone else. There is no way to tell if it is Newton’s diary, or a forgery. Some would argue, correctly, that there is, other than Karl’s word, no evidence that the document even exists. And yet Nick makes no mention of these facts. Instead, he accepts the “diary” as real, a “fascinating piece of documentary evidence… that may ultimately shed more light on the psychological warfare angle of the crashed UFO mystery.” The use of such an alleged document for this purpose is a-historical, to say the least. As Karl told me, in an e-mail last October, “With the Newton journal, I'm NOT relying on an anonymous source. I'm saying: This is what the source showed me. Can anyone help me with independent confirmation / refutation? BIG difference.” A big difference indeed; unfortunately, it is one that Nick, does not take into account, or note for his readers.
(b) Otis Benson memos - Benson, who at the time of the Roswell incident was chief of the Medical Research Division in the Office of the Air Surgeon stationed in Washington, D.C. (see Benson's full biography at www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=4669 - Benson was a pioneer in space and aviation medicine, and rose to the rank of Major General), wrote a number of memos that Nick quotes from, and claims as corroboration. In fact, they corroborate nothing. They talk about various experiments the military was conducting, none of which fit the description of the types of experiments Nick's "whistleblowers" discuss, and all of which, at least in terms of subject matter, are now public knowledge. Further, one memo which Nick quotes from at length, dated 1 July, 1947, specifically contradicts Al Barker, who stated that there was a rush on to get the experiments done before the judgment was handed down at the SS doctor's trials in Nuremberg (which came in August 1947). The memo states that experiments dealing with the ability of the human body to withstand G forces would be "greatly extended in the next three months at higher speed utlizing a greater variety of aircraft" - meaning the experiments being referenced in this memo were actually being increased, and were projected to continue well past the "hush hush" date described by Barker. In fact, the memo makes clear that all of the work it described was proceeding apace, and was to continue (it states, for example, that "work is continuing on studies of cockpit cooling and the cooling of pilots employing airflow suits."). (p. 127 -128) Nick calls this document "intriguing;" in fact, it is wholly irrelevant. It has nothing to do with the experiments described by the "whistleblowers," and in fact describes the kind of cutting edge work - all of it perfectly legal - that was undoubtedly going on at the time, and was to continue going on for many years to come.
(c) After the red herring of the Benson materials, Nick references a memo that he states is "a true smoking gun." This memo, titled "Analysis of Factors Contributing to 'Pilot Error' Experiences in Operating Experimental Aircraft Controls," unlike the aformentioned Benson memo, does indeed seem to be, at least on the surface, relevant. Written on 22 September, 1947, it talks of "recent air accidents at White Sands Proving Ground" and a report "dealing with mutant experiments of extreme altitude flight, capsule ejection, and decompression effects." The document also talks of "radio-biological hazard studies incident to the work of this project," and a crash on 4 July, 1947 of a "loaned S-Aircraft (PF). (pp. 128 - 130)
The problems with this "smoking gun" should be readily apparent, however. For example, what about the "crash" of 4 July, 1947 that is described? The scenario as described by the Colonel et al deals with a Horten Wing type aircraft which was carried aloft by fugo balloons, and then crashed as a result of a catostrophic lightning strike. Certainly the military would have known, by the time this document was written, what the cause of the crash had been if it was a "catostrophic lightning strike." Instead, the document talks of "engine failure," and states that the Army Air Forces Scientific Advisory Group, and the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, could not fully agree as to the exact cause of the "engine failure," and were specifically looking into pilot error, and how to rectify the problem. Hardly a catostrophic lighting strike, which would have been, to put it mildly, "obvious."
Of course, this is pretty much moot, because the document is almost certainly a fake.
The source of the document (which can be seen at http://www.majesticdocuments.com/documents/pre1948.php - scroll down to "Lt. Col. Tucker to Office of Air Surgeon, 22 September 1947") is the "mysterious" Cantwheel, of MJ-12 infamy. This "retyped copy" of an alleged original was provided to Timothy Cooper by Cantwheel, who allegedly worked in "Army Counterintelligence."
The Cooper - Cantwheel documents are bogus, as any number of researchers have shown. Even Stan Friedman, who believes that the original MJ-12 documents are authentic, labels the Cooper - Cantwheel documents as frauds. At best (and I'm being extremely charitable here), any information provided by Cooper is as highly controversial as the information provided by the Colonel et al. Nick should have known better than to rely on a document provided by this "source" (and I'll note again that the document doesn't even corroborate the Colonel's story anyway). At the very least, he should have noted this fact in the book, but he did not.
(d) Lincoln LaPaz documents (pp. 134 - 136) - these documents cited by Nick as corroboration are, in fact, simply press releases from the University of New Mexico, where LaPaz was head of the department of Mathematics and the university's Institute of Meteoritics, which confirm that LaPaz had worked on wartime studies about Fugo balloons. Nick then links this to Lewis Rickett's statement that LaPaz was one of those people with whom Rickett worked in an investigation of the Roswell incident, and then asks, "If, as the Colonel has asserted, the key event that led to the legend of the UFO crash at Roswell involved 'a next generation of Fugo' balloon that was responsible for launching an experimental aircraft that catastrophically crashed, then who better to enlist into the study of how and why the Roswell experiment failed than an expert on those very same balloons?" (This sounds an awful lot like the Donald Menzel line of reasoning with respect to MJ-12, i.e. well, Menzel was involved in crytopgraphy during the war, so he was a natural to be on MJ-12 to decipher the "alien" symbols).
Even if you believe Rickett's statement, however, there is nothing there to provide any corroboration to the Colonel's story. It is well known (and a quick search of LaPaz's name at www.bluebookarchive.com will confirm this, if confirmation is necessary) that LaPaz, while he may have worked on the fugo balloon problem in the Second World War, had moved on, and that his primary interest and expertise in the late 1940s was with meteors, green fireballs and other unidentified aerial phenomena. Studying these phenomena was the task for which he had been engaged by the military.
Also, if you accept Rickett's account, you have to accept it all, including this part: "Before [LaPaz] went back to Albuquerque, he told me that he was certain this thing had gotten into trouble, that it had touched down for repairs, taken off again, and then exploded. He also felt certain there were more than one of these devices, and that the others had been looking for it. He was positive the thing had malfunctioned." This bears no resemblance to the Colonel's description of the incident.
You also have to accept Rickett's explanation of why La Paz would have been involved, which had nothing to do with his wartime work on fugos, but rather his postwar work on meteors: "It was La Paz's job to try to find out what the speed and trajectory of the thing was. La Paz was a world-renowned expert on trajectories of objects in the sky, especially meteors, and I was told to give him all the help I could." (quoted in Friedman and Berliner, Crash at Corona, pp. 102 - 103)
There is nothing here that is even remotely corroborative. It is another red herring.
As should be clear by now, there is no real corroborative evidence for the accounts told by The Colonel, the Black Widow, Bill Salter, and Al Barker. Thus, their accounts must stand or fall on their own merits. As demonstrated in Part I, Barker's account is beset by a claim that is simply unbelievable, and which calls into serious question his overall credibility.
But what of the other three?
To be continued...