Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dr. Donald Menzel - Secret Agent or Money-Grubbing Security Risk, Part I

Even the proponents of the authenticity of the MJ-12 documents admit that, on first glance, the inclusion of Dr. Donald Menzel, arch-debunker of the UFO phenomenon, is strange. However, Stan Friedman conducted a dogged search into Menzel's background (detailed extensively in his book Top Secret / Majic), during which he discovered that Menzel had done a great deal of classified work over the course of his long career as an astronomer, for the military, and for agencies that included, among others, the NSA. This led Stan to conclude that Menzel "passed muster" as a person who had the connections and the background to be included in something like MJ-12. His debunking over the years, therefore, was simply a cover for his real activities with MJ-12.

This ignores the probability that if the documents had been faked by people within government intelligence circles (oh, for example, let's say the Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Menzel's record might not have been as secret as Stan asserts. Still, Stan had made his case, and it was hard to argue with what he had found. Menzel had indeed led a sort of "double life".

But does that mean he was trustworthy enough to put on a project as important as MJ-12 would have been? There are indications, from none other than Captain Edward Ruppelt of Project Bluebook fame, that the answer is no.

Ruppelt's personal papers contained the following profile of Dr. Menzel, formed as a result of a visit that Menzel paid to Ruppelt and others (Brigadier General William Garland, Dr. Stefan Possony, Colonel Frank Dunn, and another officer whose name Ruppelt could not recall), in mid-May 1952.

According to Ruppelt, Menzel began by insisting that he had solved the UFO problem for the Air Force. Possony and Garland questioned some of Menzel's claims as the discussion went along, and then the subject of conversation turned to hoaxes. Menzel tried to make the number of hoaxes out to be larger than they were, at which point, stated Ruppelt, "Garland began to get a little fidgety... and told Menzel that we were well aware of how many of the sightings were hoaxes, about 2 or 3 per cent."

It was at this point that Menzel revealed his real motive for attending the meeting. He announced that he had sold a story of his ideas to Time and Look. He told Garland et al that he wanted the Air Force to publicly back him up one hundred per cent in these two articles. Garland, stated Ruppelt, "about blew his stack in the silent manner in which he blew a stack [while] Possony asked Menzel if it might not be more scientific to do a little bit more research on the subject before he went out and sold the story." Colonel Dunn then added that, "he didn't think that the Air Force would care to endorse something that we knew so little about [but that] we would be glad to say that Menzel had told us about the theory and that this could be released through the PIO."

According to Ruppelt, at this point Menzel "blew his top [and] began to throw around the name Jonathan Leonard of Time and said that he was behind this 100% and that Leonard would do this and that." Ruppelt suggested to Menzel that he could leave a copy of his work so that it could be shown to a few of ATIC's consultants. Menzel refused, and left.

Now, here we have a man who is supposedly part of MJ-12, the super-secret group overseeing the UFO problem, wandering in to the ATIC office to try and get Garland et al to endorse his views and articles. This begs the question - if Menzel was on MJ-12, why waste time with Garland and Ruppelt. Why not get Vandenberg, or Twining, who were both supposedly part of MJ-12 with him, to endorse the theories on behalf of the Air Force, or order Garland to do so? Does Menzel's visit make any sense at all if he was really with MJ-12?

Of course not.

Now, I can hear the MJ-12 proponents already. Menzel was scouting for information from the ATIC guys. Or perhaps Menzel was planting disinformation with Ruppelt et al? Or maybe this was some clever ploy to get the Air Force to endorse a debunker without involving those officers involved in MJ-12?

Ridiculous. He was trying to get their help in turning a buck. Any other theory ignores the fact that MJ-12, according to the Eisenhower Briefing Document, already had a contact to Project Bluebook, with a liaison being maintained through "the Air Force officer who is the head of the project." That officer? Captain Edward J. Ruppelt! If MJ-12 was real, and Menzel a member, why the need for the meeting? All he would have had to do was pick up the phone (or have another MJ-12 member pick up the phone) and call Ruppelt.

The story gets more even more interesting, however. Possony requested that Ruppelt do a little checking, and so Ruppelt contacted the Office of Naval Research, where he spoke with Lieutenant Commander Frank Thomas, ATIC's contact man with the ONR and the Navy. Here is Ruppelt's account of that meeting:

"I mentioned our meeting with Menzel and [Thomas] stopped me about half way through the story. He got on the phone and called someone in ONR. It turned out that Menzel had tried to pull a deal with the Navy, only he was backing some kind of gun. He had decided that it was the salvation of the Navy and he had tried to put pressure on them to back him. He went a step further, though, he offered to donate his time as a consultant in developing this gun. (It might have been something else, but I think that it was a gun).

This seemed to be a very noble thingto do so ONR got interested. The bids for the contracts came in and Menzel strongly suggested that they be given to a small outfit that had made one of the bids. Since the bid was high, ONR did a little investigating and found thta Menzel was one of the prime backers of this 'non-profit research organization.' ONR cancelled out on the whole thing."

Ruppelt also records the observation of Dr. Allen Hynek, after the Time article came out, that "Menzel was stooping to some pretty low tactics to make a buck."

Does this sound like a man that would be tapped as a member of a super-secret group like MJ-12?

Not to me it doesn't.

But there is more to come on the good Dr. Menzel...

Paul Kimball

1 comment:

RRRGroup said...


Donald Menzel would be exactly the kind of person that an authentic Majestic 12 group would have as a member.

He was a renown astronomer who dealt with esoteric elements of society (The Illuminati, etc.) and was interested in using radio astronomy to look for extraterrestrial life.

Moreover, he was, as one can discern from his governmental activities, a CIA shill.

Menzel's purpose was to debunk flying saucer/UFO sightings: to dissuade the public that they exist.

But his background would indicate he knew more about the phenomenon and probably believed (or knew) they existed, as his lectures hinted.

Menzel was an operative. He abandoned his scientific principles and ethics in order to maintain his CIA connections, which he used to gather funding for some of his pet astronomy projects: solar observatories and a radio telescope array he pushed for most of his latter years.

But again, suppose Menzel is outed as the CIA operative he was?

Or suppose Menzel just turned out to be an anti-UFO crank? (Highly unlikely, unless he suffered dementia in his last years.)

And suppose he was a member of the alleged MJ-12 group? What impact does that have, again, on the UFO reality?

Unmasking Menzel as a disinformation agent of the CIA is intriguing to quidnuncs, but doesn't add anything to the UFO solution.

Giving Menzel MJ-12 status merely adds some kind of false credibilty to the MJ-12 hoax.

Yes, there was a group, several actually, established to determine how to handle alien intrusions and/or actual physical craft. MJ-12 is akin to them in fictional terms, but MJ-12 really seems more like an intuited operation rather than a real operation, as I note elsewhere, because MJ-12, in its known incarnation, is too contemporary to reflect how a 1940s/1950s secret government committee or agency would sound and operate.

Menzel was just the kind of guy to confuse the UFO issue, in his time, and in the MJ-12 creation.

Rich Reynolds