Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Michael Salla & Military Whistleblowers

Would you trust UFO Whistleblower testimony if it came from General (or is that Lieutenant Colonel) George A. Custer (below)?

It seems that Michael Salla would.



For Dr. Salla, the very fact that a person has served in the Armed Forces seems to be proof enough that he is a credible witness.

Kevin Randle, in response to one of Dr. Salla's posts at UFO Updates this week, wrote, sensibly, in reference to alleged Whistleblowers who had served in the military (like Philip Corso, William Cooper, and Clifford Stone), that:

"Military service does not convey some sort of extraordinary reliability on an individual. We need something more before we begin to accept so many outrageous claims."

Kevin's full post can be found at: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/may/m16-001.shtml.

Salla's response can be found at: www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/may/m18-006.shtml, but here is the relevant excerpt (note - the typos and grammatical errors in the original):

"Long military service records indicate a certain stability ofcharacter, ability to perform responsible duties and the kind of honor and integrity system that goes in the military. While I'm a 'peace researcher' by profession and reject violent solutions to conflicts, I find military values of honor, integrity and discipline much more a measure of character that the kinds of values generated in consumerist societies. Many still believe that military training helps build character especially for the younger generation. So there's a cultural appreciation that military personnel are more likely to posses the kinds of qualities that we look for in whistleblowers, integrity, veracity, honesty, etc. I am prepared to generalize that the general public are more likely to believe military whistleblowers with long service records as individuals more likely to be telling the truth when blowing the whistle on egregious government policies. I have find all the military whistleblowers I have spoken with are exceptional individuals. Integrity counts especially when it comes to assessing extraordinary claims that have little if any documentary or hard evidence to back them up."

Unlike Dr. Salla, I am not a "peace researcher," and have no problem with using the military, when absolutely necessary, as an instrument of national policy. I have the greatest respect for men and women who serve their country, as my Dad and three uncles did in the 1950s, and as my brother-in-law does now, stationed with the Canadian Army in Afghanistan.

Having said that, however, it is ridiculous to suggest, as Dr. Salla does, that just because someone has served in the military, they are a credible witness.

Where does that leave General James Wilkinson and his running mate, Aaron Burr?

Or Custer?

Or Benedict Arnold?

Or, for a more modern example, Pfc. Lyndie England and her pals at Abu Ghraib prison?

I could go on, and on, and on, but I think you get my point - military service, no matter how long or heroic, does not, in and of itself, guarantee that an individual is a person of integrity and character. Today's Iron Cross winner could be tomorrow's mass murdering dictator; today's Civil War hero could be tomorrow's self-aggrandizing egomaniac, leading his troops to a futile death.

In fact, as is clear from some of the (admittedly) egregious examples I have cited above, unscrupulous people often use their past military record to confer on themselves a veneer of credibility, and respectability, that they would not otherwise have, given their subsequent actions. Sometimes they will even lie about that record to achieve this aim.

If your critical thinking switch has been turned "off" - as, it seems, is the case with Dr. Salla - then you are easy prey for these people. This is what has happened with his approach to alleged UFO Whistleblowers with past military service, like Corso, Cooper and Stone, who tell fantastic tales for which there is no supporting evidence, and who have exaggerated their military records.

If Dr. Salla really had the respect for men and women who serve their country that he says he does, he would turn away from these Whistleblower frauds.

Paul Kimball

6 comments:

AJ said...

You receive 1000 cool points for namedropping James Wilkinson.

Certainly there are whistleblowers in realms other than UFOlogy, right? What kind of evidence do people who reveal general fraud and mismanagement need to provide? I would assume that it would be evidence acceptable to judges, magistrates, grand juries, etc. Why are Salla's standards for UFOlogical whistleblowers seemingly less stringent? Oh, right, because such evidence is routinely covered up and destroyed by the power elite/secret cabal/whoever. Thus (if I've read his various UFO updates posts correctly), the absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence in and of itself. Am I understanding him right?

Paul Kimball said...

AJ:

Salla's standards are not necessarily lower, alas, than those you would find elsewhere. Take the Gomery Inquiry up here in Canada. Daily, witnesses level allegations of corruption at the Liberal government, and the opposition Conservatives (who I support) simply repeat them verbatim, as if just by saying something, it must be true. A higher (and proper) standard requires that one (a) assess whether there is independent evidence to back up the "whistleblowers" claims (in the scandal at the root of the Gomery Inquiry, there is such hard evidence, which is what led to the inquiry in the first place); and (b) assess whether particular witnesses are credible or not, using both the available corroborative evidence and evidence as to their trustworthiness and character.

The problem with Salla - and, to some extent, Rich Dolan (see prebious blog re: his UFO book) - is that they ignore the need for (a) and (b).

And I've always had a soft spot for Wilkinson - quite the rogue!

Paul

John Auchettl - PRA Melbourne said...

Mmmmmmm.... your a lawyer Paul and your not a whistleblowers fan?

If I was a lawyer I would be.

The whistleblowers is an agent, a messenger, but what one does with the information is independent to the whistleblowers situ... one needs to listen and act.

Its not a free ticket to the treasure box. Hard worl and long hours...

For example "Watergate".

John Auchettl - PRA said...

"Would you trust UFO Whistleblower testimony if it came from General (or is that Lieutenant Colonel) George A. Custer (below)?"

Are you saying Custer was dishonest or lacked honor....

I hope not!

Paul Kimball said...

John:

History is pretty clear that Custer lacked both integrity and honour, although not personal courage in battle, which is a different thing entirely.

As for Whistleblowers, I never said I am against the concept (they may necessary, as I alluded to re: the Gomery inquiry, to bring things like government corruption to light), but merely the ones currently being accepted by Exopolitics within ufology as telling the truth, when any objective look at them indicates that the opposite is the case.

And, for the record, I'm a Red Sox fan.

Paul

Anonymous said...

These two quotes says it all:

"Long military service records indicate a certain stability ofcharacter..."

"...military personnel are more likely to posses the kinds of qualities that we look for in whistleblowers."

The key words are "indicate" and "likely".

The man's trying to make sense of all this using his skills as a researcher including the law of averages and other similar methods. It's highly likely that out of the numerous amount of whistleblowers, there are at least a handful that are reliable and that's what he's aiming at. He provides well researched information- more than most- and although I don't agree with everything he says, he does introduce ideas worth keeping in mind.

If you discredit whistleblowers- who are probably the main reason why the UFO/conspiracy phenomenon exists and are maintained; people who risk life and limb to report what they have witnessed- maybe you need to look at yourself a bit.