Thursday, August 23, 2007

The MJ-12 Brouhaha

At the moment controversy is raging within the "hallowed halls of ufology" about MJ-12.

"What," you ask. "MJ-12. I thought that was a dead fish".

Indeed. MJ-12 itself is a dead fish. It was a scam. Whether it was for disinformation purposes or financial gain is a secondary matter, as far as I'm concerned. Except for a few die-hard defenders (Stan Friedman foremost among them), everybody else has come to that conclusion some time ago, and for the most part moved on.

No, the controversy is not about MJ-12 itself, really, but rather about a paper written by Brad Sparks and Barry Greenwood, and presented at the recent MUFON Symposium. I had an advance peek at the paper weeks before the Symposium courtesy of Brad, and was going to provide some editorial input (mostly re: spelling, grammar, and overall construction, which it badly needed at that stage), but work and life got in the way, and I never got a chance to send back my suggestions, which Brad had asked for (putting the boots to any assertion that Brad can't take constructive criticism).

Anyway, the controversy, which is unedifying for all concerned, is between who wrote what, and when, and how much, and... well, you get the picture. Stuart Miller sums it all up nicely here.

Now, Brad is my friend, and was instrumental in making Best Evidence a well-received film, so I accept his account of how it all went down. Besides, I can't see what the point of all the argument is anyway. It is, in my opinion, a waste of time and energy.

With one exception.

As Stuart notes, Dick Hall has critiqued Brad for making reference to ongoing Roswell research, and big revelations on the horizon, without providing any specifics. Worse, Brad slams other researchers for their lousy methodology (fair game), but does so by comparing it with his own, which we can't check, because Brad hasn't published anything yet.

Dick is right, Brad - and I say this as a friend who has a great deal of respect for you and your work over the years. It is decidedly un-academic to use vague references to ongoing research that has not been made public to support your MJ-12 contentions, or anything else, including criticism of other researchers. If someone else tried this in a different context, I suspect that Brad would be one of the first people to go after them, and rightly so. This was the one part of Brad and Barry's MJ-12 paper that I immediately highlighted in yellow, with a couple of exclamation marks, and meant to send Brad a note saying I thought it was a bad, bad idea, but I never got around to it.

The unfortunate thing is that all of this petty to-and-froing has taken attention away from the real story, which was a paper that, by and large, was an excellent examination of the hows and whys of the MJ-12 fiasco, and should have been the final nail (if one was really needed) in the MJ-12 coffin.

Paul Kimball

10 comments:

Mac said...

What's Stan's reaction to Brad's paper?

Anonymous said...

I am so amazed at the constant bickering and fighting between the many researchers in Ufology....also in my mind a Co-authored paper is something that both authors work very closely on but in this case it seems almost as if they had little or no communication on what each other was writing?

ross

Paul Kimball said...

Mac:

Predictably, he sees all sorts of flaws. I think he's writing a rebuttal, which I suspect which simply be a re-hash of Stan's usual arguments on this issue.

Paul

KRandle said...

Paul -

The thing that bothers me here is the jump to the conclusion that Stan is writing a response... Or maybe I should say Stan's response is to automatically challenge Brad's paper. Maybe he should read it carefully and remember that he told me, and others, that Bill Moore told him that he, Moore, was thinking of creating a "Roswell" document to shake things loose. Sounds like the evidence for that is quite clear.

There comes a time when we must give up the indefensible as, well, indefensible. Not a single document has withstood the test of time and many have been proven to be frauds. The questioned document expert that Stan went to told him that the Truman Memo was a fake.

MJ-12 is as dead as Roman Empire and it's time to move on.

Kevin

Paul Kimball said...

MJ-12 is as dead as Roman Empire and it's time to move on.

I couldn't agree more, although there is perhaps still something to be learned from the mechanics of the scam itself.

Paul

dr. x said...

"Indeed. MJ-12 itself is a dead fish. It was a scam. Whether it was for disinformation purposes or financial gain is a secondary matter, as far as I'm concerned."
...

I think you will find the issue of whether MJ-12 was originated and developed by Doty, who then drew Moore in, for profit and personal gain vs. whether MJ-12 was an authorized, or sanctioned domestic, disinformational psyop, of greater importance when Barry Greenwood puts together his side of the story and presents it for public release.

Mark my words--this is more than just speculation or a prediction.

BoyintheMachine said...

MJ12 is not dead. The Ufological community needs to learn as much as possible about who was behind the information and what was the purpose of it.

Was this yet a psy-ops operation?

I have my suspicions about a certain key fellow.

Paul Kimball said...

Jason:

Sorry, but Mj-12 is dead, buried, they had the wake, everyone got drunk, and... well, you know how it goes. As for who did it, who cares? Honestly. I think we all have various suspicions, and ideas as to motive, but even if one assumes it was some super-secret government disinfo ploy (which I don't buy), then continuing to talk about it just serves their purpose.

Anyone interested in the study of the UFO phenomenon would be better served to leave the "Cosmic Watergate" stuff behind, and get back to studying cases - both the thousands and thousands of pages in the publicly available USAF files that haven't really been looked at yet, and field investigations of contemporary sightings.

Paul

Aaron said...

If Bill Moore was willing to fake one Roswell document, then might he have faked them all? Is that the unspoken suspicion here?

Suddenly the comments after some of the UFO Hall of Shame posts make more sense.

Aaron

BoyintheMachine said...

Paul,

I am convinced that many of the 'big guys' in this field are not at all what they claim to be.

There's William Moore of the Bennewitz affair, who basicly admitted to working with the govt to destroy a man's life, for one.

I think Redfern or Bishop did a blog some time back about various inteligence agencies interest in Ufology, and the use of such field to weed out possible spies.

I think you should read it, if you haven't already.

I'm thinking the MJ12 papers were pretty much created along these lines...not as a hoax for monetary profit, and not as disinformation to throw people off the truth, but more along the lines of bait to either catch those in the know who are breaking their secrecy vows as well as suspect spies.