Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Determining The Truth About "Disinformation"

The recent column about Phil Klass's FBI files has prompted me to give some thought to the concept of "disinformation" in general. It is perhaps the most overused term in the ufological lexicon - a stock, catch-all excuse to employ whenever one needs to explain why the facts don't fit a particular interpretation of them ("oh, it must be disinformation").

Which is not to say that governments do not employ disinformation from time to time, for a host of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the subject of the disinformation itself. Call it the old bait and switch. It is a technique neo-Nazis used to use - they would pretend to be interested in UFOs in order to lure in impressionable young people. Things would then graduate to conspiracy theories, and the next thing you know, they would have some converts to the neo-Nazi cause. It had nothing to do with UFOs - their efforts were designed to achieve another aim.

So, if the government is engaged in UFO-related disinformation, the question is "to what end?" Is it being used to cover up a vast Cosmic Watergate?

Maybe (more on this below). However, with most of it, particularly during the Cold War years, I suspect their motives were, and remain today, more... earthly.

Such as?

Well, here's a hypothetical:

The United States military has a vested interest in promoting the Ballistic Missile Defence project. The flip-side of that is that it may well have an interest in undermining and discrediting those people and groups which are opposed to BMD.

If I was someone tasked with that job, how would I go about it?

First, one must always be aware that the easiest way to discredit someone is to link them with someone - or something - that is not particularly credible. There are many suspects. After all, disinformation can run in many different directions at the same time, all designed to achieve the same aim. You would certainly want to link them with the far left as much as possible, for example (given this particular context - in other cases you might actually want to link people to the far right). If you could tie them with Chavez's Venezuela, or maybe China, or Cuba, so much the better.

On a smaller scale, however, would be other targets - one of which could well be UFOs.

How? Why?

A good way to start would be to try and link the peace movement, and the anti-BMD movement in particular, with some sort of UFO cause (why UFOs and BMD? Because both are understood as relating to "space.") Not the serious UFO stuff, mind you (no mention of the Sturrock Panel, or someone like Dr. Jacques Vallee or Dick Hall); rather, the wacky stuff - you know, about establishing diplomatic relations with myriad alien races who are in cahoots with the government and are helping us reverse engineer advanced technology and/or to fight the "evil alien races" with exotic super-BMD space weapons ... etc, etc, blah blah blah, ad infinitum.

In other words, the stuff that the sensible ufologists think is, to be polite, a bit "out there".

In the 1950s, the contactee movement would have been a good bet for this kind of thing.

Today?

Exopolitics.

Imagine putting forth people who will, in the same interview, talk about aliens being in cahoots with the government, the threat of an intergalactic war (whatever happened to a good old "intragalatic war"?), and... by the way... BMD, which is of course aimed at the aliens, and which is bad. Very bad.

Aliens linked to anti-BMD. Chuckles galore on the evening news. The anti-BMD movement discredited, if ever so slightly (remember, these things can be a cumulative effort, so every little bit helps), in the eyes of those watching at home, or surfing the Internet.

Gold. Job well done. Give that disinfo guy a raise.

Now, does this mean that exopolitics is actually part of some disinformation scheme, or that, even if it is, all of the people involved in it in some way or another are part of a disinformation scheme?

Of course not. If it was part of a disinformation scheme, it would be a few people, not many. The rest, like all of the dupes that the Soviets hooked in the 1930s and 1940s, would be just that - well-meaning dupes.

Still, who knows? But someone has just started a blog to "expose UFO disinformation", and listed Drexel University student newspaper columnist Aaron Sakulich (Aaron Sakulich!!) as the first target (although not in a "he's a government agent" context... yet). The fringier ufologists make a habit out of saying that this skeptic is a disinfo specialist, or that one is - or that everything is disinformation. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the ravings of someone like William Cooper, i.e. the "fringe" of the "fringe", who thought that pretty much everyone in ufology was working for "them". It's almost as if they can't think of anything more intelligent to say. They bandy the term "disinformation" about without really knowing what it means, or how it works.

Why? Because the facts don't always fit the paradigm they have adopted, or because someone like Sakulich, or Klass, or Kevin Randle (yes, he's been a target as well) says something they don't like, or agree with.

None of that makes much sense (frankly, a guy like Klass, clumsy to the core, would be the last guy you would pick, unless you wanted to discredit CSICOP for some reason). What does make sense, if you're a believer in disinformation, is using the "aliens are on Earth" stuff to discredit something like the anti-BMD movement, or the peace movement. There would be a logical reason for it - at least it would be logical to the people running any such scheme. By associating anti-BMD activists with aliens and space wars one makes the very concept of opposition to BMD seem like looney tunes. BMD would seem like scientific reality. Anti-BMD is made to look like science fiction.

Of course, there's another possibility, too - that the government (or part of it) may also be trying to discredit the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, and to undermine in particular any attempt to hold hearings at a government level, i.e. Congress, or the House of Commons, on the subject of UFOs (it must be noted that this does not necessarily imply that they "know the truth" about aliens, or that "they" have anything more to hide than their own general incompetence).

There's a fairly simple way to check for this possibility. It isn't foolproof, but it's a good start. Examine the writings of the exopolitics types closely, and check to see of whom they are critical - if it's everybody, chances are that they are legit (if a bit nutty). But if there is one government group that seems to be getting a free pass - oh, say the Air Force, who would probably be mighty embarrassed by any hearings on the UFO phenomenon - then you might want to take a closer look at these people, and what their agenda really is.

And if you think I'm way off base here, ask yourself this question - whatever happened to the prospect of Congressional hearings in the late 1990s? Who effectively scuttled any hope of any hearings ever taking place? And are these not the same people "pushing" for similar hearings in Canada right now, where Canada's participation in the BMD program is a hot political topic, and where opposition is significant?

Paul Kimball

3 comments:

Don Maor said...

Paul:

you said:

"Of course, there's another possibility, too - that the government (or part of it) may also be trying to discredit the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, and to undermine in particular any attempt to hold hearings at a government level, i.e. Congress, or the House of Commons, on the subject of UFOs (it must be noted that this does not necessarily imply that they "know the truth" about aliens, or that "they" have anything more to hide than their own general incompetence)."

since ufo's really exist, and since some of them certainly can not be made by human technology, then i would say that the quoted possibility is the only one really possible.

my point may be too old and simple, but is a most relevant one.


DonMaor

VCosby said...

"a stock, catch-all excuse to employ whenever one needs to explain why the facts don't fit a particular interpretation of them ("oh, it must be disinformation")."

Yes, very true and I think I will steal your words and use them as my signature in the forums I post in.

"Things would then graduate to conspiracy theories"

I like to term them as paranoidal theories because they can instill a degree of paranoia after a considerable amount of entrenchment.

"prompted me to give some thought to the concept" AND "ask yourself this question"

These two statements of yours prompted my post because you said my most favorite words, which are "give some thought to the concept" and "ask yourself this question.

Too many others tends to jump to conclusions based on only what they already think they know to be factual and never sit and dwell on a subject before giving their thoughts on a particular concept.

Also, they never ask questions within their own mind and because of this, tend to believe too much of what they read.

My post is of on-topic and then again, just ever so slightly off-topic so I apologize for that in advance.

Like you, I sit and question the whys and wherefore concerning disinformation and/or the release of all government knowledge regarding UFOs and aliens.

However, one has to pretend for a moment that such a statement from our government that UFOs are definitely in our airspace, could be extremely detrimental and instead, think about why instead they care not to divulge such information.

For a moment, visualize that President Bush has just approached the microphone. This is of course braking news and the citizens of the U.S. and much of the rest of the world watches and listens to what it has he has to say.

The first words from his mouth sound something like, UFOs are in our airspace, and of course the assumption that aliens are inside of those UFOs is a gimmie. Of course I guess he wouldn't have called them UFOs since they would no longer be considered such.

Currently there are over 6.5 billion people on this planet today and the news travels extremely fast and now this information has traveled around the world.

Our first actions as human beings who still have adrenal glands attached to our kidneys would be shook by fear, fright, terror, horror, worry and panic.

Fear simply cannot be instilled in people unnecessarily in our world. The aliens certainly know this, which is why they tend to be standoffish themselves and only give us bits and pieces here and there, now and then, which only instills more intrigue for the believers and wonderment for the masses. And that number (the masses) continue to sit in denial, which is where I believe they were meant to sit.

More importantly, and the major point to my post is that as far back as Truman and to date, a facet of our government would have had multitudes of round table discussions on the subject.

Amongst that table you would find military, but more importantly the rest of the chairs would have been taken up by the greatest, most renowned psychologists and psychiatrists in their fields.

Those psychologists and psychiatrists who were brought into the picture on such issues would have stated their case on behalf of mankind, in respect to the repercussions if and when a government official takes it upon themselves to speak into a microphone at that infamous podium.

It is only simple logic that psychologists and psychiatrists were brought into the picture and here is a small handful of the many reasons why.

First of all, you cannot stop the economic engine. Such an event would stop many engines and end up looking like dominoes.

Furthermore, one must consider the children and the elderly. Parents are experiencing fear, some are even having panic attacks and their children see the fear and become increasingly scared themselves causing psychological problems.

A large number of the elderly population are having heart attacks or at least experience worse fears threatening their current health problems.

Shall we talk about the churches and how they would immediately think that the world was coming to an end and that, (OH MY GOD! IT'S TRUE, THE ALIENS ARE SATAN) or some other nonsense like that.

Or better yet, the masses who haven't been to church in 40 years or less and think that God is here to judge mankind and, and, and, the list goes on AND, it's a very, very long list.

Consequently, I believe that the aliens themselves will open that door if it ever opens and not the government simply because they do not want to be responsible for upsetting the apple cart.

Certainly, I have sat and dwelled for hours and 'questioned' some of the ways that the aliens could come in that proverbial door.

One of the ways, the top of my list anyway is that of a hero.

Just one idea on this could be to stop a nuclear warhead in mid air over the ocean that was on its way to the U.S. or some other large nation from any of our current enemies that have the capability.

This is a door that we would now open for them, since they would be the hero and we shouldn't fear them because they just saved millions upon millions of lives. Why should we fear them?

Sure, the U.S. saw the dang thing coming but the aliens got to it first because they watched it as it was fired and disarmed any further capabilities at that very moment as well. This we already know they can do.

Because of this, anything goes in respect to how they could make themselves out to be the hero. It doesn't have to be my scenerio of course.

Their minds and thinking is beyond our comprehension and their thoughts and ideas are as unfathomable and numerous as their vehicles they travel in, not to mention the distances that they have traveled to our world.

For this reason, they could easily come up with hundreds of scenarios (ruse) on how to get mankind to open that door for them and not the government. Why would they want the government to be found at fault? No upsetting that apple cart either.

Here's another subject that I have 'questioned' and one that should forever be on your mind.

What is the very first thing that the people of the world will do when such event takes place?

I believe that they are going to flee to their computers and go on the Internet.

What words in search are they going to type?

I could bet my life on that first word being alien and the second word will be UFO.

Now, what are they going to find when they open up those websites?

They are going to find answers from you and people such as yourself. Their answers are going to come from the nuts who believed in aliens and UFOs that have been ridiculed because of it for who knows how long.

They aren't going to learn anything from our government, they are going to be taught by us instead.

They are going to read and reread every single UFO/alien oriented website and forum they can find for answers to relieve their fears.

It is us that they are going to rely on and we will be online to relieve as many of their fears that we can.

As for Exo-politics, I often wished that they didn't exist because yes, in my eyes, I believe that they have a kooky story to tell, which could cause great confusion and greater fears for all of the newbies that didn't believe in aliens and UFOs previously to Bush's D-Day.

I am an abductee and contactee, however I do not involve myself with Exo-politics since I find it to be a lot of muckity muck and gobbily goop.

So, like you, I 'question' such thoughts and instead of wondering why the government refuses to divulge UFO information, or deploy disinformation, I instead believe that it was designed to be as it is and instead proves that the particular government that made those decisions at that round table only had mankind's best interest in mind.

The Odd Emperor said...

Re Aaron Sakulich;
“The fringier ufologists make a habit out of saying that this skeptic is a disinfo specialist, or that one is - or that everything is disinformation. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the ravings of someone like William Cooper, i.e. the "fringe" of the "fringe", who thought that pretty much everyone in ufology was working for "them". It's almost as if they can't think of anything more intelligent to say. They bandy the term "disinformation" about without really knowing what it means, or how it works.”



"Hear, hear!"

I think it’s a belief thing. Accusing someone like Sakulich of being an agent of disinformation seems silly beyond almost beyond comprehension.

But, he is a clear, consistent voice of the hard-nosed engineering type. He has a habit of stomping the sacred cows of UFOlogy -- there has to be something wrong with him! But to think someone is paying this fellow to spew falsehoods? Good gravy if it’s the US Government, wouldn’t it be better to do a feature on CNN instead of using an obscure Op-ed writer?