Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Combating the Condon Effect - The Sturrock Gambit

In “The Condon Effect and Canada, Part I” I showed how the conclusions in the Condon Report – at least so far as they are generally known to the public, and, more important, government officials, stopped the interest in the UFO phenomenon by government, at least in Canada, dead in its tracks. It changed the way that the people who matter (i.e. the ones who could fund a serious study of the UFO phenomenon) think about UFOs. It became a subject for historians to study, more from a cultural perspective than anything else. It became fodder for fringe radio and the alternative media, but not the mainstream media, which could make a difference. It became science-fiction, instead of science.

And that’s pretty much where it sits today, as I have noted here before.

Now, ufologists can’t blame just the Condon Report. Roswellism, i.e the descent into conspiracy theory, and crashed flying saucer stories, and MJ-12, and, above all else, the acceptance by many of the ETH as a proven fact, hasn’t done the cause of the serious study of the phenomenon any good. These things have merely confirmed the impression created by the Condon Report, and have seen ufology reduced to the fringe. Every time the words Cosmic and Watergate are uttered in the same sentence by a ufologist, the people who matter tune out.

I recognise that believers don’t care about “the people who matter,” and I suppose I don’t blame them. They’ve already accepted that the ETH is a fact, so, for them, what’s left to study?

It’s time for the rest of ufology, however, to recognise that further association with this group just makes things worse, not better. It’s time to wish them well, and then head in separate directions, because, no matter how much one might like them as people, the harsh reality is that they’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

That doesn’t mean repudiating the ETH as a hypothesis. It does mean parting ways with those who can’t see that it is still just a hypothesis.


Because there is something “up there” that is worthy of serious study, but the nature of that “something” is still unknown, and that serious study requires the resources that only government can really muster.

Of course, if you think that the government is the real problem, then this approach is obviously not for you. You’re in the first group, mentioned above, and, as I said, I wish you well (you might want to stop reading at this point). Make your appearances on Rense, and Coast to Coast, and at conferences where fellow-travelers chat about the latest crash retrieval, or exopolitics. There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing these things – it just isn’t the way forward. It won't accomplish anything.

For everyone else, I can guarantee you that the Condon Effect will remain in place, and those resources will not be forthcoming in any meaningful way, until the “H” is put firmly back in place in the “ETH.”

I’m sorry if that seems harsh, but reality isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you have to make the hard choices in order to make progress. But ask yourself - is ufology interested in pleasing everyone, or in searching for the truth? Is ufology a social club, or a serious scientific and historical study? If it's the latter, then it needs to act like one.

Assuming all of that is done, and ufology sorts out its own house (a BIG assumption, but one can always hope), what then?

How does serious ufology counteract the Condon Effect?

Well, with the ufological flanks secured, and everyone singing from the same hymn book (more or less), ufology should then employ, in a concerted, public way, what I call “The Sturrock Gambit.”

First, you let the decision makers know what the Colorado Project really found, as opposed to what the Condon Report said it found – that there were still a significant percentage of cases investigated that remained unexplained. Don’t talk about dark conspiracies to cover-up the truth – simply present the Condon Report for what it was – the work of a biased man (Condon) who acted in an unscientific-manner, and ultimately screwed the pooch. After all these years, it’s time to present the Colorado Project to the decision-makers, and not the Condon Report, and remind people that they were, for all intents and purposes, two different things. Give them the facts, in other words, and not the personal agenda of Edward Condon.

Then fast-forward to the late 1990s and the Sturrock Panel, a far more recent look by scientists at the UFO phenomenon.

Point out that the Panel was composed of top scientists, led by distinguished physicist Dr. Peter Sturrock (above - his specialties were plasma physics, astrophysics, and solar physics). Include their bios.

Don’t try and sugar-coat the Panel’s conclusions. Decision-makers, or their aides, at least, can read - and they will.

Give it to them straight.

Tell them the following:

The panel found that, despite the fact that the specific cases presented to it by UFO investigators did not provide “convincing evidence pointing to unknown physical processes or to the involvement of extraterrestrial intelligence,” nevertheless, it would be “valuable to carefully study UFO reports since, whenever there are unexplained observations, there is the possibility that scientists will learn something new by studying these observations.”

To be credible, stated the panel, such evaluations must take place with a spirit of objectivity and a willingness to evaluate rival hypotheses. The best prospect for achieving a meaningful evaluation of relevant hypotheses, the Panel concluded, “is likely to come from the examination of physical evidence.”

The Panel then specifically addressed the Condon Report from 1969:

“The chances of a significant advance are considered greater now than at the time of the Colorado project that led to the Condon Report thirty years ago, because of advances in scientific knowledge and technical capabilities, and in view of the example of a modest but effective UFO research project provided by the French space agency CNES.”

The Panel concluded that:

“1. The UFO problem is not a simple one, and it is unlikely that there is any simple universal answer;

2. Whenever there are unexplained observations, there is the possibility that scientists will learn something new by studying those observations;

3. Studies should concentrate on cases which include as much independent physical evidence as possible and strong witness testimony;

4. Some form of formal regular contact between the UFO community and physical scientists could be productive; and

5. It is desirable that there be institutional support for research in this area.”

Throw in a copy of Dick Hall’s The UFO Evidence, Vol. I and II. Reference the Project Blue Book Archive, for those decision-makers who are Internet savvy ( Mention RB-47 and Minot AFB. In Canada, try the 1996 Yukon case. In Europe, the 1990 Belgium multiple witness, multiple radar, F16s-scrambled case. Reference national UFO studies, like Canada’s, that show the phenomenon is alive and well (to say the least). Cite polls that show people (i.e. constituents) think the UFO phenomenon is worthy of serious study (different than saying that they believe that there is ET life somewhere out there). Work at a grassroots level, not for “disclosure” (which is anti-government, in that it assumes the government is lying), but for government-funded scientific study of the phenomenon. Get a petition started in each constituency calling for serious scientific study of the phenomenon. 100 signatures in each riding will create an impression with the M.P., and force him to at least take a look at the subject, and the materials you send him or her. Believe me - an M.P. might ignore 1 constituent; they will not ignore 100, or more.

Compile a list of the fifty best unexplained cases that meet the criteria outlined in point #3, above, by the Sturrock Panel. Prepare a synopsis of each case.

All of this, and more, can be done - but it's important to have all the ducks in a row.

Then, when you have their attention (and you will get someone’s attention), prepare a budget for a five year scientific study to boldly go where science has not gone before (Condon doesn’t count, and the Sturrock Panel was only a start). Keep the budget reasonable – a few million dollars, spread over those five years, would be a good start.

And always remember that once a government program is in place, it is very difficult to get rid of – especially if it actually shows some results, and doesn’t go off the rails (i.e. exceed its mandate)!

And then make your case.

This will, I know, be a hard pill for many in ufology to swallow.

But Roswellism – i.e. the “everything-is-a-conspiracy, ET-is-here” approach - has been dominant for the past twenty plus years, and has achieved nothing of substance.

It is has been a failure, because it is based on a flawed, unproved set of assumptions, masquerading as facts.

It is unscientific.

It is a-historical.

The Sturrock Gambit is the way forward.

It is the Theory of Evolution to Roswellism’s Intelligent Design.

And if it isn’t done, then someone else will be writing in ten years about the “Condon Effect” – and offering the same advice I just have, even as they mutter under their breath “ca plus ca change, ca plus ca meme chose.”

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 22, 2005

The "Condon Effect" in Canada, Part I

In "Canadian M.P. Calls for Public Investigation of UFO Phenomenon" I pointed out (as I have elsewhere) that there was a time, until 1969, when Canadian MPs took the subject of the UFO phenomenon seriously (see:

I then noted that this hasn't been the case since 1969, and asked "why?"

The answer lies in what I call "The Condon Effect."

In "Ufology's Bottom 10," I ranked Edward U. Condon (above) as the worst person in the history of ufology. I wrote:

"Condon was a distinguished scientist, a pioneer in quantum mechanics, the director of the National Bureau of Standards, the president of the American Physical Society, and a professor of physics at the University of Colorado. It is in this latter post where his claim to ufological infamy rests. The Condon Report, which was the result of a two-year “scientific” study of the UFO phenomenon commissioned by the United States Air Force (known formally as The University of Colorado UFO Project), was released in 1968. Condon was the director. Virtually from the beginning, critics (including some of the committee’s members) charged that Condon and coordinator Robert Low were biased. When the report came out, in concluded that there were prosaic explanations for all UFO cases, and that there was no evidence to support the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. The Air Force, the American media (in general), and the scientific community (again, in general), accepted the report as the definitive word on the subject. Project Blue Book was terminated shortly after its release. Prominent critics such as Dr. Peter Sturrock, Dr. James E. McDonald, Stanton Friedman, and Dr. J. Allen Hynek, have all correctly noted that the report’s conclusions – which were authored by Condon himself – were sharply at variance with the evidence (Condon did not investigate any of the cases himself), which showed that 30% of the cases studied were classed as “unknowns,” higher even than earlier Air Force studies. As Sturrock wrote, “This report has clouded all attempts at legitimate UFO research since its release.” Little has changed in the almost four decades since the Report was released, as governments, the media, and many in the scientific community still cite it as proof that UFOs are not worth serious study... The Condon Report represents everything that science should not be, and irrevocably tarnished the reputation, for those aware of the facts, of a man who might otherwise have been viewed as one of the great American scientists of the 20th century. The damage it did to the serious study of the UFO phenomenon was incalculable." (see

Doubt that the effect of his unscientific whitewash was as great as I claim?

Well, consider the following two exchanges in the House of Commons. The first occurred on Fenruary 6, 1969, shortly after the Condon Report had been released. The Hon. Barry Mather, an NDP M.P. from New Westminster (see, put forward a motion that all materials relating to the investigation of the Michalak case be made available (various M.P.s had been asking questions about the Michalak case for some time, and the matter had been tabled each time). In the course of his speech, Mather stated:

"I believe that in the field of unidentified flying objects the Canadian government does not show enough serious concern... there is no real or active interest by [the National Research Council] in the very large and conceivably important area of u.f.o. information. This government agency is out of tune with the desire for more knowledge in this new field by a great many serious-minded North Americans. It is estimated that no less than five million Americans now claim they have seen u.f.o.'s, and the United States government recently received a detailed report by a special body which spent some years and half a million dollars to investigate alleged sightings."

Proving that he was brighter than your average M.P. is thought to be by most Canadians, Mather continued:

"The fact that the [Condon] report was of the opinion, in brief, that there was nothing to the stories and reports of u.f.o. incidents immediately aroused criticism by a number of scientifically oriented groups who are or appear to be very well informed to the contrary.

At any rate, I believe that in Canada we should have a more tangible policy regarding u.f.o. investigations. I think the government should table all information available pro and con about these phenomena."

Then Mather said something extraordinary (about as close as a Member of Parliament ever got to supporting the ETH):

"I think we should also consider that our own little earth is now sending out flying objects, and if life exists on other planets the flying objects which the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. are sending into space may very well appear to that form of life to be unidentified flying objects."

He concluded by quoting, among others:

(a) UK Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding:

"The existence of these machines is evident and I have accepted them absolutely."

(b) Dr. James McDonald:

"... the hypothesis that these u.f.o.'s are extra-terrestrial surveillance... I regard as most likely."

(c) and Dr. J. Allen Hynek:

"... at first, without any question at all, I thought it was stuff and nonsense, but not any more."

The government's response?

Well, they tabled the majority of the Michalak information (some was withheld on the reasonable basis of confidentiality), which was the point of the question. But, on the more general subject of UFOs, the Hon. Yves Forest, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (see, stated:

"The hon. member... is not an expert in the matter of flying saucers and I think I could say so myself."

Speaking of experts, however, Forest continued:

"The hon. member... mentioned a report recently published in the United States, which does not give much credit to the statements of alleged witnesses. I do not think the government will establish a royal commission on that matter."

Loosely translated?

Forest to Mather: "Hey, neither of us is an expert - the real experts were the guys who wrote the Condon Report, which has pretty much wrapped things up, so we have no interest" -although he did offer that he was "sure the Department of National Defence and the [National] Research Council of Canada carry out routine investigations about those who claim having seen, in the skies over Canada, unidentified flying objects." [Emphasis added - PK]

[House of Commons Debates. Official Report, First Session - Twenty Eight Parliament, 17 Elizabeth II, Volume V, 1969, pp. 5234 - 5236]

And that, as they say, was that - with one exception that proves the "Condon Effect" rule.

There has been exactly ONE exchange about UFOs in the House of Commons since 1969, which occurred during question period on March 26, 1975, and which put an exclamation mark on the answer Forest gave in 1969.

The Hon. Dr. Bruce Halladay, the Progressive Conservative M.P. for Oxford (see, asked:

"1. Did the Canada Council award $6,000 to study Canadian reports of Unidentified Flying Objects and, if so, was the Council aware that the United States Government spent over half a million dollars between 1966 and 1968 to have competent scientists conduct an intensive study of such reports, including Canadian reports, and that their conclusion was that there was no evidence to warrant any further scientific investigation (the Condon Report)?

2. Did the Council consult with officers of the National Research Council about the advisability of funding such study?"

The answer was delivered by the Hon. James Faulkner, the Secretary of State (see

"I am informed by the Canada Council as follows:

1. Yes. Under the Council's Explorations program, Mr. John B. Musgrave has been awarded $6,000 to catalogue old sightings of strange aerial phenomena as reported in Canadian newspapers, journals and local histories, and to interview people who have witnessed such phenomena, especially prior to 1947. The Council's decision was based on an independent appraisal by four scientifically qualified people who were undoubtedly aware of the Condon Report: the Chairman of the Department of Astronomy in an American University, the Director of the Mutual UFO Network in the United States, a biologist, and the editor of the Canadian U.F.O. Report.

2. No. This was not felt necessary for the following reasons: (a) the candidate has a solid background in the history of science and particularly of astronomy, having studied these subjects at two major United States universities, and is now involved in scientific work while teaching at Athabaska University, Edmonton; (b) the focus of the project is historical rather than scientific."

[House of Commons Debates. Official Report: First Session - Thirtieth Parliament, 24 Elizabeth II, Volume V, 1975, p. 4502]

Note the following:

1. The question had switched from Mather's "why aren't we looking seriously at the UFO phenomenon," to "why are we spending $6,000 on the subject, when the Condon Report showed there was no scientific merit to studying UFOs?"

2. The answer was even more telling than the question. It was not a defence of the validity of the serious scientific study of the UFO phenomenon. Instead, Faulkner is pointing out that it was a historical study, not a scientific one.

The long and the short of it?

That the Condon Report had settled the question of the scientific study of UFOs, and that UFOs were now worthy of study only as a historical subject.

That is the Condon Effect, and it is still in "effect" today.

To Be Continued...

Paul Kimball

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Michael Salla's "Dan Quayle" Moment

One should always be careful about comparing oneself to an icon.

For example, former Vice-President Dan Quayle may be best remembered for his 1988 debate with Democratic VP candidate, Senator Lloyd Bentsen.

Quayle (above), who was perceived as a lightweight who did not have the experience to be President, should the need arise, compared his length of experience with that of John Kennedy.

Bentsen, in what was one of the most devastating political exchanges in American history, pounced:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Quayle tried to answer:

"That remark was uncalled for, Senator."

Bentsen twisted the dagger:

"You're the one making the comparison, Senator... Frankly, I think you're so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well taken."

And that was that.

Fortunately for the Republicans, people vote for the top of the ticket, so George Bush survived his selection of Quayle as his running-mate, but Quayle never recovered from the impression created by that one moment. It defined him. [For anyone interested, the full debate transcript can be found at]

I call this a "Dan Quayle" moment.

Exopolitics-guru Dr. Michael Salla has just had one.

It all began when Dr. Salla, who was getting rhetorically and logically pounded by Brad Sparks, Kevin Randle, Stan Friedman and others at UFO Updates, sought to invoke the memory of Major Donald Keyhoe, one of ufology's early pioneers, by claiming that Keyhoe was, in fact, the idealogical father of exopolitics. When some suggested that this was "a bit much" (to be polite), Salla reiterated the comparison.

That was a mistake.

Dick Hall, playing the role of Lloyd Bentsen, has now weighed in on Salla's attempt to compare himself to Keyhoe (which, in ufological circles, is sort of like comparing yourself to Kennedy in politics).

Here's what Dick had to say at UFO Updates today, in response to Salla (who had the effrontery to call Dick - and by implication anyone else who disagreed with Salla - "naive"):

"Michael, I will venture to say without fear of contradiction that I knew and understood Major Keyhoe and his thinking far better than you did or ever will... Major Keyhoe never believed what you say. We all thought UFOs probably were spaceships; that's no secret. But Maj. Keyhoe always depicted two opposing camps within the Air Force, one of which favored total secrecy and one that wanted the full truth to come out. This analysis has been totally confirmed by historical documentation, and is a far cry from what you are claiming. Later he came to believe that the CIA was behind the secrecy policy, and there also is good evidence of that being true after 1952. You go right ahead and spout your exocranial blatherings. No real scholar is going to pay any attention to them, and as Paul Kimball pointed out, the dubious and often badly flawed "sources" that you continually cite will go a long way toward further discrediting the subject in the eyes of the people whose help we badly need. - Dick" [The full post can be found at]

Allow me to translate:

Dick - "Dr. Salla, I served with Donald Keyhoe. I knew Donald Keyhoe. Donald Keyhoe was a friend of mine. Dr. Salla, you're no Donald Keyhoe."

Salla (as I anticipate his response will be) - "That remark was uncalled for, Mr. Hall."

Dick - "You're the one making the comparison, Dr. Salla. Frankly, I think you're so apart in the objectives that you choose for ufology that I did not think the comparison was well taken."


The only difference between the 1988 vice-presidential debate and the 2005 ufological debate is that, unlike Quayle and Bentsen, Hall and Salla are pretty much at the top of their respective "tickets."

It's time for ufology to choose.

The UFO Evidence vs. Exopolitics.

The Real Inheritor of Keyhoe's legacy vs. The Imposter.

Fact vs. Fiction.

I know where my vote goes.

Paul Kimball

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Canadian M.P. Calls for Public Investigation of UFO Phenomenon

Statement by NDP Member of Parliament Hon. William Dean Howe (Hamilton South):

"There have been reports of U.F.O.'s in Canada for years, as there have been in every country. It has been, and still is, customary to subject reporters of these objects to every sort of ridicule and humiliation. However, I believe that it is long past the point when we can safely assume that every one of these people is drunk, neurotic, or just lying. Most reports come from people of good reputation, whose testimony would be accepted without question under any other circumstances.

I wish to make clear that I do not support either side of the U.F.O. issue. There is not enough evidence to conclude that flying saucers exist, but there is too much unexplained evidence to ignore. It is my contention that the Canadian government should direct an appropriate department to conduct a continuing investigation into all reports. I believe a climate should be created in which Canadians can report what they see without fear of ridicule. The conclusions of these investigations should be published regularly. Most sightings can be shown to be naturally caused, but I suspect that even proof of visits from outer space would be more reassuring to the public than Canada's present attitide of ignoring them in hopes that they will go away."

The good news?

That a Member of Parliament would make such a statement.

The bad news?

It happened thirty-nine years ago, on 21 April, 1966 - even though the statement could have been made yesterday, because, in the years since, almost nothing has changed.

[See House of Commons Debates, First Session, Twenty Seventh Parliament, 15 Elizabeth II, Volume IV, 1966, p. 4149]

Which leaves us with two questions:

1. Why?

2. Where is the William Dean Howe of 2005?

To be continued...

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Body Snatchers in the Desert: Pflock Strikes Back

It looks like another of the longtime Roswell researchers has finally weighed in on Nick Redfern's book Body Snatchers in the Desert.

Karl Pflock has just sent an open letter sent to Nick, which Karl copied to a number of people (including Stan Friedman, Jerry Clark, Kevin Randle, Rob Swiatek, Jim Oberg, Bruce Maccabee, Dennis Stacy, John Scheussler, John Rimmer, and, obviously, me). In the letter, Karl gets in his two cents worth - and then some - about Body Snatchers in the Desert.

The parts of the letter that are relevant to the book follow:

"I've read the book, sampled the online chatter about it, and waded through your pre-publication interview with “UFO Review.” The latter ( puts your book in enlightening and illuminating context and is must reading for anyone who wants to assess your brief seriously. Here are some thoughts on BS IN THE DESERT and my decision about the future of our collaboration on the Aztec project.

Congratulations! You may have pulled off a ufological/ufoological trifecta with a bonus: (1) you offer a semi-new, non-UFO Roswell “explanation” that (2) could allow all but the most hardcore crashed-saucer advocates and even the squishier pro-Mogulists a way to save face (“We were right. There were bodies. There was a nearly intact craft. We were just wrong about their origin.” And “Mogul was one of the secret projects operating in the area at the time, but it looks like it wasn’t the answer to Roswell”) and (3) extends to and allows practically every phony, crook, and crank who helped create or has taken advantage of the Roswell legend to claim varying degrees of legitimacy for their yarns, “research,” and revelations. The bonus: You give America- -or at least the American government, especially the military- -Stinks! characters who infest UFOdom with an answer almost as satisfying as a crashed-saucer cover-up and one far more compatible with their socio-political prejudices than a cover story used to maintain security for Mogul, a legitimately classified, non-nefarious military research and development project. Of course, once all the implications of your thinking sink in, you may well find yourself persona non grata in ufological circles, but this should be more than offset by a rise to big frog status in the conspiratorialist fever swamps.

There are many problems with BS IN THE DESERT, but this one is central: Your sources, well versed in the Roswell mythology, have sold you an alternative, earthly explanation for the features central to Roswell’s mysterious glamour: strange bodies and an unusual, crashed but virtually intact flying machine. Unfortunately for you and them, the “witnesses” responsible for introducing or providing allegedly corroborative testimony about these elements of the saucer-and-bodies version of Roswell have been shown by me and others not to be credible, and several among them, including the key players, are proven liars. None of this depends upon buying into Mogul as the answer to Roswell, and it has been accepted even by many of the most vigorous crashed-saucer advocates, some of whom participated in exposing the phonies. Yet you and your sources seem to be entirely in the dark about it.With the original stories discredited, there is no foundation for what you recount. In sum, Nick, you have been fed a large helping of BS repackaged from the rotten banquet of Roswell BS and smothered in a tasty new conspiracy sauce, and you have uncritically swallowed and regurgitated it.

But you say there is testimony and documentation backing up what you were told. What sort of stuff is this and from whom does it come? First, of course, there are the tales of the discredited Roswell witnesses. Then we have official documents that provide absolutely no support for your version of Roswell, to most if not all of which you were guided by your sources. Adding further bogus substance (and, not incidentally, enough extra words to make a book), there’s interesting but not new historical material about Japanese “medical” atrocities, biological warfare experiments and plans, and Fugo balloon operations and schemes; reprehensible- -in many cases even by the standards of the time- -American medical research practices; and of course the obligatory captured exotic German experimental aircraft. Rounding things out, you turn to Don “Lyin’ King” Schmitt and Tom “I Want DESPERATELY! to Believe” Carey and their cast of New Witnesses of the Month; Tim “The Human Doctored Documents Factory” Cooper; Ray “Show Me the Money” Santilli, his laughable film, and his nonexistent cameraman; Phil “I’m NOT Just Another Obscure Retired O-5” Corso; David “Through the Looking Glass” Rudiak; Bill “Double Agent” Moore and his sidekicks, defrocked Air Force OSI agent Richard Doty and erstwhile TV documentary producer Jamie Shandera (“Who us, fake the MJ-12 and other documents?”); and so, on and on, up to and including our old friend master conman Silas Newton and even by sly implication Yours Truly.

Here in no particular order are some further comments on just a few of the issues of varying degrees of importance that raised red flags about the credibility of your work and your capacity for critical judgment as I read your book and interview:All of your tiny handful of sources- -four, count ‘em, four- -except the highly questionable Brit know and are in touch with each other, a critically important piece of information you leave out of your book, mentioning it only in the interview. Moreover, in the book you give the false impression that one of them, “the Colonel,” your key source for what allegedly is actually behind the Roswell story, surfaced out of the blue, independently of the others.

Your sources claim a much greater depth and breadth of knowledge about far too much highly sensitive classified information far beyond their “need to know,” and virtually all of it supposedly gained all too casually. Of course, this is something of a ufological tradition. In addition, all of their information about what allegedly happened at Roswell is by their own accounts second- or third-hand. Further, only “the Black Widow” claims to have seen strange bodies. Given what was going on at the time in the study of radiation effects, she may well have seen unusual cadavers at Oak Ridge, but the only link between her claim and Roswell is what she says she was told about the origin of the bodies.

You repeat as fact Corso’s assertion that science writer Willy Ley was part of von Braun’s Paperclip gang. In fact, Ley fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and had nothing to do with von Braun’s activities in New Mexico. When discussing test flights in which one of the experimental aircraft is towed, the Colonel, supposedly a former military man, makes a couple of odd flubs. He refers to the Army Air Forces tow plane as a DC-3 (civilian airliner) rather than by the correct military designation C-47. He also says the pilots of that aircraft had been in the 82nd Airborne during World War II. In fact, the planes that carried the 82nd and towed its gliders and the aviators who flew them were assigned to transport units of the AAF’s 8th Air Force.

The LeMay 1 July 1947 memo concerning plans for radiation-effects research in Japan from which you draw sinister implications about Asian bodies allegedly found in New Mexico shortly thereafter: It’s perfectly obvious this refers to studying the horrible effects from the atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.According to the Colonel, the crew of the ill-fated Roswell “saucer” were captured Japanese kamikaze Fugo pilots, in the Colonel’s words, “fierce little fuckers.” If you were running the operation, would you let such dedicated fanatics fly one of your precious test articles, especially when there was a very good chance they’d use it for one last glorious suicide mission for their Emperor- -probably with you and your staff in the bulls eye?

Contrary to your interpretation, the 25 August 1947 classified memo from AMC technical intelligence to Air Staff intelligence included in your book doesn’t show the level of security at Roswell went far beyond what was justified to keep something like Mogul under wraps. First, the security efforts brought to bear in connection with Roswell were not even close to being as dramatic and draconian as the legend suggests. What measures were taken were in response to the worldwide publicity, which threatened to compromise the project. Second, after the Roswell flap, Mogul project managers and their superiors decided it would be wise to inform officials in the intelligence community who were working the flying saucer problem and senior officers at military facilities in the area where Mogul operations were being conducted that their project might well generate flying saucer reports and in fact had already done so. This included a visit to Roswell Army Air Field in September ’47. You would know all this and much more that should have given you pause about the credibility of your sources had you read my ROSWELL: INCONVENIENT FACTS AND THE WILL TO BELIEVE.

You quote McAndrew’s observation that the Air Force had flown balloons as high as 170,000 feet with payloads of as much as 15,000 pounds. Then you suggest such balloons would be more than adequate to lift a small experimental aircraft with a diminutive crew and be far more than what was needed to carry a small “radiation-” (actually, sound-) detection device, i.e., for Mogul. You seem to have missed the fact that McAndrew was referring to capabilities and operations that didn’t exist and didn’t take place until well after the Roswell incident.Lincoln LaPaz, Fugo, and Roswell: You offer the fact that LaPaz worked on the Fugo problem during World War II as though it were some sort of significant revelation. Yet this has been known for years. LaPaz wrote an article about it for a popular magazine back in the 1950s. His alleged involvement in the Roswell case arose from a jumble of mistaken and conflated memories, as, again, you would have known had you read my ROSWELL and the results of the investigations of Robert Todd.

You cite my 1994 conviction that there were strange bodies involved in the Roswell affair and that they might have been the product of something akin to the radiation experiments that were just then coming to light, conveniently failing to mention this was based exclusively upon my misplaced faith in the truth of Glenn Dennis’ claims. Also left unmentioned is all the evidence I (and others) subsequently uncovered and published seven years later in my ROSWELL, revealing the sources and inspiration for Dennis’ (and Frank Kaufmann’s) convincing, crucially important to the Roswell legend, but bogus stories. Much of this evidence should have but apparently didn’t embarrass the hell out of a certain very prominent ufologist.

Silas Newton and Aztec: First a couple of things in themselves minor, but in this context telling. No matter how many times I have told you that J.P. Cahn’s second TRUE article about this hoax-scam was published in 1956 (August,"Flying Saucer Swindlers," pp. 36-37, 69-71), you persist in saying it appeared in 1953. Similarly, like the FBI and despite my pointing it out to you, you continue to spell the name of Newton’s partner in crime incorrectly. It’s GeBauer, not Gebauer.

More important, in your “UFO Review” interview you say that as far as you know, despite his lifelong career as a conman, Newton was never convicted of anything. Yet you know perfectly well he and GeBauer were convicted on fraud charges in December 1953 as a result of their peddling phony oil-finding gadgets supposedly based upon technology recovered from a flying saucer that fell to earth near Aztec, New Mexico.

Still more important, in BS IN THE DESERT and your interview you refer to the handwritten notes (not a diary or journal) made by Newton that I was shown in 1998, in which he claimed to have been contacted by two mysterious agents of the U.S. government who encouraged him to continue telling his tall tales about crashed saucers. You advance this as evidence in support of your notion that crashed-saucer stories were created and have been and still are being used to keep the lid on the truth about Roswell. But it isn’t evidence of anything. We don’t have the notes. Even if we did, they are the unsubstantiated writings of a totally unscrupulous con artist who most likely was making his agents up out of whole cloth, probably in anticipation of writing a book. At best, this is an interesting addition to the Aztec story and a potential lead to something more...

I’m not sure if BS IN THE DESERT reflects amazing credulity, reckless opportunism, or something of both on your part... Finally, a suggestion concerning the sale of movie rights to BS IN THE DESERT: Try Michael Moore first. The quality of your research, rigor of your logic, and spin on your content are right down to his standards.- -Regretfully and most sincerely, KARL"

There are a number of things in Karl's critique that I and others have already mentioned (Newton's diary as a source, for example). As most already know, I agree with the general assessment offered by Karl, Stan Friedman, Brad Sparks, and many others, that Body Snatchers in the Desert is a massive red herring that offers nothing new to the Roswell debate except a theory that makes no sense. Further, I have no faith in the veracity of Nick's sources, for reasons I and others have pointed out. Finally, I think Karl is correct when he states that one of the main reasons Nick's theory appeals to some within ufology has nothing to do with UFOs, and everything to do with their own political leanings, and their inherent distrust of everything to do with the government. Oddly, they find the prospect of a massive government cover-up of Nazi-esque human experiments to be more palatable than a cover-up of a UFO crash, not to say the other, more relatively mundane explanations that have been offered. Ultimately, I think Body Snatchers in the Desert may tell us more about the world view and the political prejudices of some of the people who read it than the Roswell case itself.

For myself, I consider Roswell still a "case: unsolved."

Regardless, this is sure to set off an even more intense discussion about Body Snatchers in the Desert.

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hall on Conceptualizing UFOs

More interesting stuff from Dick Hall that can be found at his website:

In this short article (Conceptualizing UFOs"), Hall provides his view on the type of people involved in ufology. At one extreme are "those already convinced that there is nothing of scientific interest in UFO reports" and who, as a result, "will see no point in investigating further. Their minds are made up." A good term to describe a person who takes this position is Scoffer. At the other extreme are "those who accept practically everything seen in the sky as evidence of extraterrestrial visitation... A good name for [these] uncritical ones would be Believer."

In between - much like in politics - is the great center, which Hall breaks down into four groups.

"Doubter: Tends to think that UFO reports probably have mundane explanations for the most part, but finds the reports interesting and worth studying.

Debunker: Tends to focus on criticizing the foibles of UFO believers and tries to find flaws in hardcore UFO reports.

Advocate: Sees UFO reports as potentially very important and argues for careful scientific study and investigation.

Proponent: Is strongly convinced that UFO reports represent probable other-worldly visitors and focuses on presenting the data in support of that view."

Hall then states, in his usual, sensible way:

"These labels should not be used in a pejorative manner. Members of each category can be entirely rational in discussing and debating the issues, and the sooner that is understood the better chance we will have of engaging in a civil give-and-take that will help all of us to gain an approximation of the truth. Facts, logic, and science should be the means of settling disagreements.

That being said, it would be helpful to confine discussions to one of the two following broad hypotheses which can then be further refined:

(1) Nonexistence. UFOs are a collection of mistaken observations based on sociological, psychological, and other human error factors. If true, this should be of great interest to sociologists, psychologists, and anthropologists given the worldwide nature of the UFO phenomenon.

(2) Existence. UFOs represent a real unexplained phenomenon. The scientific question then would become: What is the nature of the phenomenon? Is it (a) literally a natural phenomenon, (b) evidence of a secret military weapon system, or (c) evidence of some kind of visitors from elsewhere?

If everyone who considers himself part of the rational center (as opposed to the irrational extremes) were to adopt this approach, it would greatly improve communications and expedite scientific research into UFOs. Neither Scoffers nor Believers have very much positive to contribute to a resolution of the UFO controversy. The rest of us in the center, if we could work together and engage in civil discourse, might succeed in accomplishing something worthwhile. And regardless of the outcome, society would benefit substantially from either debunking 'the UFO myth' or establishing it as something very important for once and for all."

I consider myself an "advocate" who adheres to hypothesis #2 above, a category which would include a person like Brad Sparks, whereas someone like Stan Friedman is clearly a "proponent," while also adhering to hypothesis #2.

Ask yourself - which one are you?

Paul Kimball

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Maccabee on The Failure of UFO Skepticism

Dr. Bruce Maccabee has a paper, "Prosaic Explanations: The Failure Of UFO Skepticism," at his website, which is definitely worth a read-through.


A couple of excerpts:

"The problem faced by the skeptics is that there are sightings for which the generally accepted (by skeptics!) prosaic explanations are wrong or at least unconvincing. The failure of UFO skepticism, from the scientific point of view, has been to allow such explanations to be accepted by the scientific community. If UFOs were 'ordinary science,' the proposed explanations would have been rigorously analyzed, and probably rejected, rather than simply accepted. Scientific ufology needs skeptics, but skeptics who are capable of recognizing when a sighting simply cannot be explained by any prosaic explanation"


"The procedure of proposing explanations is part of the scientific approach to explaining UFO sightings. However, simply proposing explanations is not sufficient. It is the "first half" of the method. The other "half" of the method is to test each proposed explanation against the information from the sighting and to decide whether or not it is, at least, convincing (you may not be able to determine whether or not an explanation is correct, but it is possible to determine whether or not it is convincing). Unfortunately Menzel, Klass and other skeptics generally have not carried out this second half of the scientific method. Menzel simply proposed explanations, one after another, as if it were logical to believe that the more prosaic explanations one could offer for a sighting, the more likely it is that the sighting could be (or has been) explained by one of the explanations. This, of course, makes little sense. Each sighting has one and only one explanation. Thus the analyst should pick the best or most convincing explanation out of a collection of potential explanations (by using the complete scientific method on each sighting and rejecting the unconvincing ones) and then publish that explanation and only that explanation. As a "rule of thumb" to help the reader decide whether or not a sighting has been explained, I would suggest that the larger the number of proposed, unconvincing explanations, the less likely it is that the sighting has been explained."

This last line seems to be a particularly good rule of thumb!

Paul Kimball

Friday, August 12, 2005

More Reaction to the Death of Phil Klass

Reaction to the death of Phil Klass continues at UFO Updates. Two of the best come from longtime ufologists Dr. Bruce Maccabee and Brad Sparks, and can be found at:



Brad, after describing his disagreements with Klass over the years, writes:

"Phil Klass was my friend and colleague despite our many disagreements and sometimes caustic commentary, which stemmed from his frustration with the gullibility and stupidity he continually encountered in the UFO field. He kept the UFO community on its toes and provided a much-needed reality check (sometimes a bit of"unreality" though with some of his explanations). He will be greatly missed. "

Bruce puts Klass in proper perspective:

"As for me I will miss him... not... well, a little, anyway. Although he seemed in person to be a nice guy, and no doubt he was in matters NON-ufological, he was, at the least, an irritant. And if he could stick the knife in and turn it a little... he did. Yet, I thank him for my education in UFO invetigation. Without his continual prodding when I was investigating Trent and New Zealand I wouldn't have become as effective in acting like a "lawyer for the defense." So, Phil, here's a salute, bon voyage, and hope you now know what UFOs are all about."

Klass had a sense of humour as well. Check out:

Paul Kimball

Dick Hall's Guidebook for Debunkers

For those who think that someone is a debunker, Dick Hall has provided a handy little list of debunker tactics. It's not as well known as Stan Friedman's four rules for debunkers, but it's a better summation of all things "debunkery," and should provide you with a pretty good indication of whether a person is a skeptic, or a debunker.

Here they are:

"How to debunk UFOs and Discredit UFO Proponents:

1. Point out that very large percentages of things reported as UFOs turn out to have conventional explanations - but don't talk about individual observers' varying abilities or how believers screen and investigate cases;

2. Always refer to them as UFO believers or ETH believers, implying that their position is faith-based.

3. Argue that any given case could have been something conventional and we will never know because we never have all the facts - but don't acknowledge that well-qualified observers have reported unexplained craft-like objects displaying extraordinary performance totaling in the hundreds or thousands;

4. (Corollary to 3): Avoid any mention of the patterns of appearance and behavior in unexplained cases worldwide for many decades;

5. Focus on the well-known problems and limitations of human perception - but never mention that people are incarcerated on the basis of eye-witness testimony, that our court systems could not function without it, and that if human perception were as inadequate as claimed, nobody would dare to cross a busy street or fly an airplane;

6. Comment regularly on human credulity and wishful thinking, in a desire for saviors from space - just don't mention that it applies only to cultists on the fringes of ufology, nor that close encounter cases typically scare the pants off of the witnesses rather than inspire them;

7. Always act as if no one before you has really conducted a thorough investigation in classic UFO cases so that it's only a matter of time and diligence before the answers will be found - but avoid mentioning that the suggested answers you propose either have already been found wanting or fail to account for the salient features of the case; and

8. Demand that UFO believers produce just one spaceship or physical evidence that one has been here - never mind that other scientific topics don't require that degree of concrete proof in order to consider something worth studying, such as Agent Orange, SETI signals, or Black Holes.

Richard H. Hall"

Like all sorts of other interesting information, this can be found at Hall's website,, which is definitely worth a look for those interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Philip J. Klass (1919 - 2005)

Philip J. Klass, aviation writer and longtime UFO skeptic (below left, hamming it up with Stan Friedman in the late 1970s), passed away yesterday at the age of 85.

Klass's obituary can be found at

Klass (or "Uncle Phil" as he was often called by some within ufology who knew him well) was the longtime bete-noire of ET "True Believers" - a group not to be confused with ETH proponents (more on the distinction below). Perhaps the most rabid of the current crop, Alfred Lehmberg, has demonstrated his utter lack of class by posthumously attacking Klass today at both his new blog and at UFO Updates. Lehmberg wrote: "The man was a cesspool of belligerent evil... He was not the honoured opposition we'd eulogize. He was ever only a craven enemy of our aggregate spirit and an insult to the bravery of same." See

Fortunately, Lehmberg is, as always, the egregious, mean-spirited exception that seems to prove the rule.

Other early responses have been more measured, and have reflected upon both the good and bad that was Klass.

For example, Kevin Randle wrote:

"I was saddened to learn of Uncle Phil's demise. He enjoyed his role of rat in the birthday cake and asking questions that some of us didn't ask. He was always cordial with me even when we disagreed, as we frequently did. If nothing else, he did take the time to physically investigate cases, going to locations and talking to witnesses. We can only hope that others in the skeptic camp will follow suit and make on the site investigations rather than pronouncements from the armchair. True, Uncle Phil knew that UFOs didn't exist and this often colored his thinking, but he also made the rest of us work a little harder..." See

I was chatting with Brad Sparks last night, without knowing that Klass had died. I asked him what was going on. He said, "my friend, Phil Klass, has passed away." Brad had knock-down, drag-them-out fights with Klass over any number of ufological issues, but he still described him as a friend. That speaks well of Brad - and Klass.

Royce Myers III, of UFO Watchdog, was dismayed, as was I, by some of the more vicious responses to Klass's passing. Putting Klass in perspective, he wrote: "Klass was a skeptic, not a pedophile or mass murderer. There are people in this field I absolutely cannot tolerate, but I can guarantee you this: I would never celebrate their passing nor find any comfort in it. I thought people in this field would be far above this sort of nonsense. With condolences to the Klass Family..." see

I couldn't agree more. I'm not a fan of Dr. Michael Salla, for example. Frankly, I think he and his exopolitical fellow travellers do more damage to the cause of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon than Klass ever did, and I've said so - time and again. But I don't wish him any personal ill will, and I hope he lives a long and productive life. Ditto Lehmberg.

And there's the problem - most people, as I've written here before, understand that the study of the UFO phenomenon is not the "be all and end all" of human existence. Even if ET was to land on the White House lawn tomorrow, life would go on, changed as the circumstances might be. This is true even within ufology - indeed, it is the very argument that Cosmic Watergate proponents like Stan Friedman use when they urge the government to come clean about the crashed saucers and alien life they are convinced the government is covering up - "hey, we can handle the truth!" To most of us, the UFO phenomenon is an important subject that needs to be studied, but it doesn't define who we are.

Things are different for the most rabid of ET "True Believers," however - like Lehmberg (a minority, to be sure, among ETH proponents). They look to the sky, hoping for the technological era's equivalent of divine intervention to lift them out of whatever personal malaise they find themselves in; for them, it really is personal, in the same way that the most ardent evangelicals look at those of us who have not found our way to their God as "pawns of Satan." For rabid ET "True Believers" like Lehmberg (again, a far too vocal minority of ETH proponents), things are simple - they have found their God, and will brook no opposition. You're either with them, or against them. They live in a world where their God is "grey" (literally), and everything else is black and white. They are indulgent self-loathers, and that self-loathing bleeds out into their relationships with everyone else who hasn't "seen the light."

Their belief overwhelms their sense of our common humanity, and the compassion we should always have for others.

Thus their reaction to the passing of Klass. Lehmberg: "He was a craven enemy of our aggregate spirit."

Ponder that sentence, and then ask yourself - who would you rather have to a dinner party: Alfred Lehmberg, or Phil Klass?

For me, the answer is easy - Klass. Klass might have thought ufologists were a bit nutty, but he would never have described them as the "craven enemy." If you had wheeled a flying saucer and aliens in front of him, I have no doubt that he would have winced a bit, and then said, "looks like I was wrong."

My choice of dinner companions will no doubt come as no surprise to Lehmberg (I can see the Alien View News column now - "Kimball the New Klass"), who has called me "Klass-lite." Considering the source, it is an epithet I wear as a badge of honour, even if it is completely ridiculous.

Now, having said that, let me address a couple of points about Klass himself.

1. Did I agree with him?

Not very often, but he did provide a useful counterbalance to the ET "True Believers" - a far right ufological yin to their far left ufological yang. However, whereas they are unwilling to ever admit that they may be wrong, Klass never ruled out the possibility of ET life, and was known to give ground on particular cases where someone had demonstrated he was in error (i.e. with Brad and RB47).

2. Did he make mistakes?

Absolutely, sometimes some pretty big ones (Brad Sparks thoroughly demolished Klass's "explanantion" for the RB47 case, for example) - but who doesn't? But let's not forget that he also got some things right over the years (like the big picture on MJ-12, for instance).

3. Did he attack pro-ET types?

Yes. On the other side of the ledger, however, it must be noted that Klass took his fair share of pretty heavy hits over the years as well (the term "klasskurtzian" is not meant as a compliment by those who use it), seemingly with good humour, and most people who knew him well, like Kevin Randle, Brad Sparks or Stan Friedman, say that he was actually quite agreeable on a personal level.

Which all makes sense, because, at the end of his life, Phil Klass was just a man, no better or worse than most of us. His passing, outside of the narrow confines of ufology, will probably go largely unnoticed, which, now that I think about it, would probably please him, in that it would prove his point that UFOs aren't really all that important, at least as far as the general public is concerned - one of those things on which he and I agreed, even as we would have disagreed about whether this was a good thing or not.

Most ETH proponents would likely admit that they'll miss having Phil Klass around. I know I will.

The more evangelical ET "True Believers," like Lehmberg, who see themselves as heroes in a great struggle against evil, will probably never admit that they'll miss Klass, but they will.

After all, every evangelical religion needs a Devil, and all heroes need an arch villain.

Klass was Lex Luthor to their Superman...

Or, as Uncle Phil might have had it, Batman to their Joker.

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings (1938 - 2005)

Peter Jennings, one of the Big Three network news anchors, has passed away at the age of 67.

Of the Big Three (the other two being NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS's Dan Rather), Jennings was my favourite, partly, I suppose, because he was born in Canada, but moreso because he always seemed a bit more... in touch with the rest of us than the other two.

You can see his obituary at:

Jennings is being remembered today for a long and storied career in journalism, but people keenly interested in the UFO phenomenon will always remember him for his final ABC News Special, Seeing is Believing, which brought UFOs into major network, prime-time America.


Not everyone was pleased with the film - particularly the hard-core ETH believer types, more than a few of whom are possessed of a martyr complex that rivals Richard Nixon's.

For more objective observers, however, Seeing is Believing was a positive, if imperfect, step forward for those who think the UFO phenomenon should be taken seriously by science, journalism, historians, and the general public.

I said so at the time:

I wrote, in part:

"When discussing Seeing is Believing, ufology needs to keep its eye on the ball - yes, there were things that many in ufology won't agree with (Roswell, for example). But the study of the UFO phenomenon needs to get back into the mainstream, after years of wallowing in conspiracy theory, New Age-ism, and wild tales from alleged "whistleblowers" about dozens of alien races. It needs to move away from "Exo-politics", and back to looking at the evidence again. And yes, it needs to make its case to the general public, to the media, and to science. Seeing is Believing was a critical first step in that process.

Kudos to ABC, and Peter Jennings."

Kudos, indeed, to Peter Jennings - not just for Seeing is Believing, but for decades of the best that journalism has to offer. He will be missed.

Paul Kimball

Dr. Salla Strikes [Out] Again

Below is Dr. Michael Salla's most recent rant (er... posting) at UFO Updates, in response to one of my postings, wherein I congratulated Brad Sparks (re: Philip Corso) and Kevin Randle (re: Clifford Stone) for setting the record straight, in the face of Dr. Salla's egregious revisionist history and fact-twisting.

It looks like Dr. Salla has finally revealed his true colours. He cares nothing for the scientific or historical research methods, he has no respect for or knowledge of the history of ufological research and researchers, and he has a great deal of trouble, apparently, separating fact from fiction.

Or he does understand all of these things, and chooses to ignore them.

Either / or, he is a clear and present danger to the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

My original post and Dr. Salla's reply are in italics - my responses to his post are interspersed throughout, in regular text.

The original UFO Updates posting can be found at:

I wrote:

Dr. Salla is worth taking seriously, as Brad, Kevin, Stan Friedman, Josh Goldstein, Dick Hall, myself and others have done at various times, because its important to set the record straight for those who might wander by, here or elsewhere, and just get Dr. Salla's side of the story. He is also worth taking seriously simply because he is one of the main proponents of exopolitics, and its important for ufology to make a very clear, and public, distinction between the fringes - like exopolitics - and the serious study of the UFO phenomenon, just as it was important to make the distinction, years ago, between the contactees and the serious study of the UFO phenomenon. Kudos to Brad and Kevin for their recent efforts.

Dr. Salla replied:

I thank Paul Kimball for taking the exopolitical perspective seriously.

Dr. Salla misunderstands me (or is being deliberately obtuse - it's often hard to tell). I don't think the "exopolitical perspective" should be taken seriously in the way he suggests (duh...). Rather, it should be taken seriously in the same way that a person would take cancer seriously. It is a disease that afflicts the serious study of the UFO phenomenon. Radical treatment is required to stop it before it spreads further.

I do however take exception to his attempt to locate exopolitics at the fringes of what he describes as "the serious study of the UFO phenomenon". Exopolitics is neither at the fringes, nor is it something relatively new to UFO studies that I, Steven Greer, Alfred Webre or others have introduced. I am presently writing a short history of exopolitics for the forthcoming inaugural edition of the Exopolitics Journal which will explain the evolution of exopolitics:

So there is no further misunderstanding by Dr. Salla as to my position, here it is again - Exopolitics is not located "at the fringe" - it IS the fringe!

First let me give a couple of definitions of exopolitcs. One is my favored definition and the second is based on an earlier post to the List. My favored definition is "Exopolitics is the study of the key actors, institutions and processes associated with the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH)." Another definition was raised in an earlier post and is based on the exobiology model: Exopolitics is "a branch of politics concerned with the possibility that life forms are visiting the Earth, and with the problems of adapting Earth politics to deal with visiting aliens."

Neither of Dr. Salla's disingenuous definitions bears even the slightest resemblance to the reality of exopolitics. Exopolitics takes the "hypothesis" out of "Extraterrestrial Hypothesis," and substitutes "Fact." Make no mistake - exopolitics is all about the belief (masquerading as a proven fact) that many different alien races are already here, interacting with our governments, etc., etc. Call it the Extraterrestrial Fact (ETF). This belief is based on the testimony of "whistleblowers" like William Milton Cooper, Philip Corso, Bob Lazar, and Clifford Stone.

In other words, Exopolitics is based on a house of sand built deep in a fog bank.

If you want the real definition of exopolitics, go to the source for some example of exopolitics in action:

How about this statement, which can be found in Dr. Salla's "paper" Political Spin and Extraterrestrial Disclosure - Shaping Public Opinion for First Contact with Extraterrestrials (see

"There has been a worldwide suppression of a secret extraterrestrial presence on Earth for at least 50 years from the general public and most elected public officials. The official public disclosure of the extraterrestrial presence has long been speculated to be imminent. The repeated delays have led to much uncertainty over when the secret extraterrestrial presence will eventually be disclosed. Some whistleblowers persuasively argue that once international terrorism fails to be a credible justification for the vast military expenditures by the U.S. military, then military-intelligence agencies will turn to the extraterrestrial presence to justify such expenditure. However, rather than ‘when’ being the critical issue to be decided, it appears that the more difficult issue is ‘how’ the extraterrestrial presence will be disclosed or ‘politically spun’. The different scenarios of a first contact that have emerged into the public arena by various UFO researchers/whistleblowers point to a competition between and within government agencies for how ‘First Contact’ will be ‘spun’ for world-wide consumption. It appears that there are strong factional rivalries within clandestine organizations that respectively have their own favored contact scenario. It is these rivalries that best explain the long delay in public disclosure of the extraterrestrial presence." - Michael Salla

And let's not forget my personal favourite, from Dr. Salla's "paper" A Report on the Motivations and Activities of Extraterrestrial Races – A Typology of the Most Significant Extraterrestrial Races Interacting with Humanity (see

"There are an extensive number of extraterrestrial races known to be currently interacting with Earth and the human population. In a 1998 interview, Clifford Stone, a retired US army Sergeant who served in the US Army for 22 years and participated in covert operations to retrieve crashed extraterrestrial ships and extraterrestrial biological entities (EBE’s), revealed there were a total of 57 extraterrestrial races known to the US military. From this pool of extraterrestrial races, a number are more active than others, and can be claimed to have the most significance for human evolution and sovereignty. This report describes the main extraterrestrial races most commonly referred to in the literature who appear to have most strategic significance for the evolution and sovereignty of humanity, and their impact on a range of systemic global problems. The report distinguishes between these extraterrestrial races on the basis of their belonging to one of either two distinct groups. The first group contains extraterrestrial races with which ‘shadow governments’ responsible for extraterrestrial affairs, have reached agreements with and even collaborated in a number of joint projects. The extensive set of interlocking agreements between these races and the ‘shadow government’ in the US and elsewhere suggests the existence of a military-industrial-extraterrestrial complex of interests. There is also a second grouping of extraterrestrial races that lie outside of this web of clandestine agreements between extraterrestrial races and ‘shadow governments’/national security agencies. Most ‘contactees’ report these races to be ‘friendly’ to human interests suggesting a more ethical approach to the challenges confronting humanity as it prepares for the truth about the extraterrestrial presence and challenges posed by advanced extraterrestrial technology." - Michael Salla

Notice the difference between Dr. Salla's statements as put forward in these papers - and there are many, many others that say the same things - and the ones he puts forward at Updates as the "definition" of exopolitics? Exopolitics isn't about the ETH, as Dr. Salla suggests at Updates, in a bid, one can only presume, for some respectability - it's about the belief in the ETF!

Don't be fooled, folks, into thinking otherwise.

Defined in either way, exopolitics is neither very new nor at the fringes of Ufology.

Defined properly exopolitics is the essence of the fringe. I do agree, however, that it is not new, per se, but merely a different manifestation of the Contactee movement that rose to prominence in the 1950s, and did great damage to the serious study of the UFO phenomenon as a result.

Using either of the above definitions, it is very clear that the father of exopolitical thought, though not the term, is none other than Maj Donald Keyhoe.

Somewhere Donald Keyhoe, who had a severe dislike of the contactee movement, is turning over in his grave!

In the interests of not further sullying Keyhoe's memory, I'll skip Dr. Salla's very imaginative (to be polite) description of the Major's career, and move straight to his main point.

Since Keyhoe's demise the great tragedy for UFO research was that researchers from the 'physical sciences such as Dr Allen Hynek, Dr James MacDonald and Stanton Friedman became the 'exclusive' standard bearers of UFOlogy with their rigorous 'scientific' pursuit of the UFO phenomenon. Hynek, MacDonald and Friedman and other astronomers, physicists, meteorologists, etc., eschewed 'conspiracy theories' of a national security cover up and believed that more concerted scientific research would yield the truth.

This is hilarious. Stan Friedman, the man who coined the term "Cosmic Watergate," and who has for decades now talked of nothing but the government cover-up, has "eschewed conspiracy theories?"

Give me a break.

While I do not see Stan's acceptance of cover-up conspiracy theories as a positive thing - I merely note that Dr. Salla is flat-out wrong when he states that he "eschews them" altogether.

And to describe Hynek and McDonald's work as a "great tragedy for UFO research" is ludicrous, and an insult to the memory of those two pioneers of the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

Keyhoe's exopolitical perspective quickly moved from the center stage of UFO research and his extensive citation and use of whistleblower testimonies was forgotten. Now, the exopolitical perspective is considered part of the fringe of serious UFO research.

Whoa... first, Keyhoe did not employ an exopolitical approach. No matter how many times Dr. Salla says he did, it still isn't true (can anyone who knows anything about Keyhoe imagine him having anything but utter contempt for someone who would write a paper about "track two galactic diplomacy"). Second, I could have sworn that Dr. Salla stated above that the exopolitical perspective was not at the fringe of serious UFO research? Now he says that it is. Does anyone else notice how Dr. Salla's arguments, when read in their entirety, lack a certain internal consistency - just like the testimony of his so-called "whistleblowers" lacks a certain internal consistency?

UFO studies as it is presently concentrated is a shadow of what it once was under Keyhoe's leadership and suffers from an acute shortage of resources and organization. I have noted the demise of organizations such as NICAP, CUFOS and FUFOR, and the current difficulties of MUFON and can only conclude that this is brought about by UFO researchers being out of touch with the many millions or 'mainstream public' who accept the ETH and/or that a national security cover up at the highest level is underway.

No, Dr. Salla, you have it wrong... again.

As I have stated here repeatedly, the reason ufology is in a mess is because people like you (the term most often used by the public is "wackos") insist on running around telling everyone that there are a dozen or so alien races already here, working with our governments, with a giant cover-up in place to make sure that we never learn the truth.

Sensible people want nothing to do with this bunk.

What I and others such as Steven Greer have done is to bring in evidence from whistleblowers and others that confirm the political aspect of the UFO phenomenon and the political cover up of the ETH.

No, what you and Greer have done is hurl us back into the 1950s, to the time of good old George Adamski and Silas Newton, i.e. con men trying to take advantage of the gullible, and those who, for whatever reason, desperately want to believe.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Paul Kimball cites researchers such as Brad Sparks, Kevin Randall, Stanton Friedman, Josh Goldstein, Richard Hall and himself as exemplary models for systematically defining the parameters of the "Serious Study of the UFO phenomenon" in terms of a 'scientific method' for studying UFO sightings, the abduction phenomenon, FOIA documents, etc.

Not quite. I was merely pointing out that these people had offered a critique of your so-called "methodology" as of late. However, let me just say that Hall, Sparks, Randle and Friedman, despite having flaws (hey - who doesn't?), make far better models for the seriou study of the UFO phenomenon, on their WORST day, than you do on your BEST day.

It's worth pointing out that aside from Stanton Friedman, none of these gentlemen are scientists that enable them to authoritatively establish the scientific method as championed as the exemplary model for UFO research.

This is a red herring, of course (Dr. Salla uses so many red herrings we should just call him "Fishy" from now on). Take me, for example. My training is in history, vital for UFO research, so much of which is historical, and the law, which is useful for understanding all sorts of stuff that Dr. Salla usually glosses over, such as evidence.

In Stanton's case while he worked as nuclear physicist, he doesn't have a PhD nor does he have a record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals.

Umm... just how many UFO papers have you written, Dr. Salla, in legitimate peer-reviewed publications?

Which science is your PhD in??

While Dr. Salla has written dozens of academic papers, NONE have anything to do with the UFO phenomenon (see Dr. Salla's resume at

As for Stan, leaving aside his decades of UFO research, the numerous papers he has written, his two books, and his written testimony to Congress, he also wrote a number of peer reviewed papers back when he was working as a nuclear physicist. I don't always agree with Stan, but I certainly have a great deal of respect for his work and his accomplishments, and I would never suggest, as Dr. Salla does, that he isn't a real scientist. He certainly has more scientific credentials than Dr. Salla.

While Kevin Randall does have a PhD, it's in psychology, not any of the physical sciences cited as the model for the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

A cynical person (and the more I read from people like Dr. Salla, the more cynical I become, at least in terms of the UFO phenomenon) might suggest that a PhD in psychology is the perfect degree for analysing certain elements within ufology... like exopolitics.

As far as Brad Sparks is concerned, he has a sharp mind and access to much historical information that he creatively spins to support his 'revisionist theories' but his systematic debunking of whistleblower testimonies and eschewal of the ETH doesn't make him in my mind a good model for what UFO research is about. As for his background, I have no information on that other than he co-founded CAUS. Perhaps he might enlighten me and others about what it is in his background that might entitle him to be recognized as laying down the scientific parameters of UFO research.

Brad Sparks has "walked the walk" (as opposed to Dr. Salla, who merely "talks the talk") for decades. To call him a "revisionist" is absurd, as anyone who has read his exchanges with Dr. Salla at Updates can see for themselves. If there is a revisionist here, it is Dr. Salla.

Paul Kimball has a law degree and is an independent filmmaker. Josh Goldstein is a detective. I don't say this in any way to demean their investigative abilities or research competence, it's just that none are scientists with competence in developing appropriate methodologies for investigating hypotheses such as the ETH.

Hahahahah... again, which science degree do you have, Dr. Salla??

Here are his academic credentials:

Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland)
Master of Arts (University of Melbourne)
Bachelor of Arts (University of Melbourne)
Graduate Diploma of Education (Melbourne CAE)
Bachelor of Science (University of Melbourne)

Hmm... I guess that B.Sc. trumps Stan's M.Sc, not to mention the PhDs held by Hynek and McDonald.

Or not.

This is a red herring anyway, as the training in science is just one way to develop knowledge of proper methodologies. As I stated earlier, training in history and law work just as well - indeed, better. After all, how many scientists are trained in the skills required to interview witnesses?

Not very many.

In general, the above researchers cited as the models for UFOlogy eschew systematic analysis of the political cover up of the ETH on the basis of biases that EXCLUSIVELY favor scientific study of 'hard evidence' in the form of UFO sightings, and FOIA documents. The cover up of evidence, the testimony of whistleblowers/'leakers', the manipulation of documents, intimidation of witnesses supporting the ETH is not at the fringe of UFO studies.

Of course it is, at least as practised by the exopoliticians, who are not interested in the truth, whatever it is. They are simply interested in spreading their own beliefs.

It was at the center stage of UFO studies at its formation and under Maj Keyhoe who blended together an exopolitical perspective together with the more rigorous scientific analysis of UFO data. I am reminding this List that a movement that forgets its origins and seminal thinkers loses part of its own identity and consequently gets out of touch of the mainstream population.

Again, a complete and total misrepresentation of Keyhoe's career.

I do agree, however, that those interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon should never forget those who came before - researchers like McDonald and Hynek, and the real Donald Keyhoe, not the false one Dr. Salla would have you believe stands as the progentior of Exopolitics. Remember others like Dick Hall, and Jerry Clark, and Peter Sturrock, and Jacques Vallee, and Brad Sparks, as well.

In other words, everyone whose work Dr. Salla both ignores and tarnishes.

There is no doubt that UFO research as currently defined by researchers cited by Paul Kimball is in crisis. They are out of touch with the many millions who do accept the ETH and know that a political cover up exists. Exopolitics may be on the fringe of this list given the biases that are systematically promoted by the leading protagonists here, but exopolitics is certainly not at the fringes of UFO research, but belongs at center stage along with the scientific method advocated by MacDonald, Hynek, etc.

Wait a second. I thought the whole point of Dr. Salla's rant was to trash the scientific method employed by Hynek, McDonald et al? Now he's saying that it has as much merit as exopolitics??
That's mighty big of him!

Finally, either of the two definitions of exopolitics cited above herald an emerging trend of researchers, experiencers, whistleblowers who do systematically explore the political processes associated with the cover up of the ETH. The various methodologies to be used for exopolitics will naturally be strongly contested, but this should be done in a way that recognizes the complexities in exopolitical research, and without excluding data that fits outside the artificially constructed paradigm of "Serious Study of the UFO phenomenon."

Read this last statement by Dr. Salla carefully.

What "methodologies" do exppolitics employ?

Blind belief.

What complexities are their in exopolitical research are there?

None. They accept anything and everything that supports their pre-determined belief system. This is about as complex as spitting on the sidewalk.

What is the "artificially constructed paradigm" for the "serious UFO of the UFO phenomenon?"

Objectivity. Rigorous analysis of the evidence, untainted by belief. Rational scepticism.

In other words, all the things that exopolitics, and Dr. Salla in particular, don't care about - and don't want you to think about anymore.

So what is exopolitics?

Let me give you a clue...

If ever the exopolitics "movement" should decide to choose a rock band to sing some sort of exopolitics theme song, there could be only one logical choice:

The Cult.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Best Evidence UFO Documentary

From the Redstar Films Limited "PR department"

"Redstar Films Limited is pleased to announce a new UFO documentary:

Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases

The film will provide a countdown of ten of the best UFO cases ever, as chosen by a diverse group of UFO experts in a poll we are close to concluding. The film will not embrace any particular explanation for the phenomenon. Instead, it will present the best evidence for the objective reality of the phenomenon – and then let the viewer make his or her own judgments.

Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases will feature cutting edge animated recreations by Wingit Digital (LEXX, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sin City, The Day After Tomorrow), photos, rarely seen records, contemporary footage from the top 10 locations, and commentary by some of the world’s leading experts on the UFO phenomenon. The result will be a film that is both entertaining and accessible to a broad audience, but does not sacrifice either objectivity or a serious approach."

We'll also be making a donation to the Project Blue Book Archive, which can be found at It is one of the most important UFO research resources available, and is a MUST bookmark for anyone interested in the serious study of the UFO phenomenon.

Best Evidence: Top 10 UFO Cases, begins filming in September (right after we wrap up filming on Fields of Fear), and will premiere in Canada on Space: The Imagination Station, sometime in the late winter / early spring of 2006.

Brad Sparks is acting as our Consultant on the project, and will be one of the experts interviewed in the film (which means people who have never met Brad will finally get to see what he looks like).

I'll be posting future updates here.

For more information, feel free to drop me a line at

I'm looking forward to making this one!

Paul Kimball

Monday, August 01, 2005

Kaku on ET, Time Travel, Space Travel

Dr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York, author of books such as Parallel Worlds and Beyond Einstein, and co-founder of String Field theory, has a number of very intriguing - and accessible - articles at his website.

Three of particular interest to UFO aficianados are:

1. "The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations"

An excerpt:

"The late Carl Sagan once asked this question, 'What does it mean for a civilization to be a few million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilization is a few hundred years old... an advanced civilization millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bush baby or a macaque.'

Although any conjecture about such advanced civilizations is a matter of sheer speculation, one can still use the laws of physics to place upper and lower limits on these civilizations. In particular, now that the laws of quantum field theory, general relativity, thermodynamics, etc. are fairly well established, physics can impose broad physical bounds which constrain the parameters of these civilizations.

This question is no longer a matter of idle speculation. Soon, humanity may face an existential shock as the current list of a dozen Jupiter-sized extra-solar planets swells to hundreds of earth-sized planets, almost identical twins of our celestial homeland. This may usher in a new era in our relationship with the universe; we will never see the night sky in the same way again, realizing that scientists may eventually compile an encyclopedia identifying the precise co-ordinates of perhaps hundreds of earth-like planets."

Dr. Kaku then provides a ranking system for potential extra-terrestrial civilizations based upon their energy consumption. He also outlines some thoughts about how an advanced civilization might go about exploring the galaxy that puts Captain Kirk and crew in the dry-dock in favour of robot probes designed to reach distant star systems and create factories which will reproduce copies of themselves by the thousands (much to Dr. McCoy's chagrin).

On the other hand, he doesn't rule out human (or alien) travel by way of wormholes, either.

Fascinating stuff.

2. "The Physics of Interstellar Travel"

This article expands upon some of the points discussed in "The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations" with regard to space travel. While Dr. Kaku gets his statistics wrong with respect to UFOs (he claims that only 1% are truly unidentified), he is correct in pointing out that:

(a) "there is no funding for anyone seriously looking at unidentified flying objects in space, and one's reputation may suffer if one pursues an interest in these unorthodox matters," and

(b) "what is disturbing to a physicist... is the remaining 1% [PK note - the actual number is significantly higher] of these sightings, which are multiple sightings made by multiple methods of observations. Some of the most intriguing sightings have been made by seasoned pilots and passengers aboard air line flights which have also been tracked by radar and have been videotaped. Sightings like this are harder to dismiss."

Ufologists should look at both these points and ask themselves:

(a) Why is there no funding, and why do scientists fear that their reputation will suffer? Here's a hint: because the serious study of the UFO phenomenon has been unable to disentangle itself from the looney fringe, best exemplified as of late by Dr. Michael Salla and his exopolitical cohorts, and because some thoughtful, intelligent people within ufology, like Stan Friedman, insist on presenting the ETH as a fact, when the evidence does not yet support this conclusion.

(b) How can serious ufology engage scientists like Dr. Kaku, who have demonstrated at least an interest in the phenomenon, even if their perceptions of the evidence are incorrect? Here's a hint: stick to the facts, and present those facts to men and women like Dr. Kaku who may be willing to give them a look. For example, ask them what they make of the RB47 case. One has to start somewhere.

3. "The Physics of Time Travel"

An excerpt:

"Interestingly enough, Stephen Hawking once opposed the idea of time travel. He even claimed he had 'empirical' evidence against it. If time travel existed, he said, then we would have been visited by tourists from the future. Since we see no tourists from the future, ergo: time travel is not possible. Because of the enormous amount of work done by theoretical physicists within the last 5 years or so, Hawking has changed his mind, and now believes that time travel is possible (although not necessarily practical). Furthermore, perhaps we are simply not very interesting to these tourists from the future. Anyone who can harness the power of a star would consider us to be very primitive. Imagine your friends coming across an ant hill. Would they bend down and give them trinkets, books, medicine, and power? or would some of your friends have the strange urge to step on a few of them?

In conclusion, don't turn someone away who knocks at your door one day and claims to be your future great-great-great grandchild. They may be right."

Here's a question - if you could travel back in time, who would you most want to meet?

I would like to think that I would pick Jesus, or some other figure of world-historical significance, but I'd have to admit that I'd be sorely tempted to go visit my younger self (oh, at about age 16), to whom I would (a) impart some basic wisdom about dating, and (b) tell him not to make fun of my Dad's receding hairline, on the theory that what goes around, comes around.

Anyway, I urge everyone to read all three of Kaku's articles, as they are related to each other. Then check out his other articles, which are just as thought-provoking, and his books, which are great reads.

I just wish someone like Dr. Kaku had been teaching physics at my old high school. Perhaps then I would have found it more interesting.

Oh well - no time like the present!

Paul Kimball