Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gone Fishin' - Again

I leave Friday afternoon for the 15th Annual International UFO Congress Conference in Laughlin, Nevada.

I won't be checking the old computer while I'm away, so I am officially hanging out the "Gone Fishin" sign once again, this time until March 7th.

See you all when I get back, with juicy details of the Laughlin Con (er... conference).

In the meantime, I leave you with a question of immense importance to ponder and debate amongst yourselves while I'm away:

Would you pull a "Baltar" - i.e. would you screw over the entire human race for Cylon #6 (aka Tricia Helfer)?

I'm definitely leaning towards a "yes". She can be my "Imperious Leader" anytime!

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Exopolitical Nonsense, Vol. II

It just gets weirder and weirder in Exopolville, that small town right next to Cuckoo City on your Ufological map.

First, Steven Bassett claims that the reason Bill Clinton didn't bring about "disclosure" on the "truth" about the ET presence here on Earth was because he wanted to ensure Hillary had a shot at the Presidency (gee - what happened in 2004).

Not to be outdone in the silliness department, Michael Salla is now supporting the contention that the Marxist coup which overthrew Sir Eric Gairy, the Prime Minister of Grenada, in 1979, was a result of his efforts to promote "disclosure" about the ET presence here on Earth, through the United Nations. You can read the full silliness here. The relevant Salla excerpt is as follows:

"Here's a fascinating account of the political events surrounding Sir Eric Gairy who was the Prime Minister of Grenada (1974-79) and prime sponsor of a UN Resolution to study UFOs and extraterrestrial life that was adopted in 1978. 'Coincidentally', Sir Eric's government was 'overthrown' by a Marxist coup just as he was about to meet with UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to further discuss ET/UFO related affairs in 1979. I think Wesly Bateman's account of Sir Eric is likely avery accurate account of what was happening behind the scenes in Sir Eric's profound exopolitical difficulties."

Ahh, good old Sir Eric. Ousted because of his prying into the question of the ET presence on Earth. Who knew?

For those of you out there who haven't completely lost your marbles, Gairy's ouster was a result of his despotic rule (Google "Eric Gairy" and "Mongoose " to see what I mean) and corruption. It had nothing to do with ET.

But this is how the exopols work - in their parallel bizarro world, where up is down, left is right, black is white, and "ring around the intellectual and historical rosey" is played until the (probably mutilated) cows come home, every event has an ET connection.

"Trust no-one, and nothing... unless it comes from us," they advise.

Yeah, right.

What next? Will they trot out a former Canadian Minister of Defence to state that UFOs are aliens because he read it in Phil Corso's The Day After Roswell?

Nah... no-one would be dumb enough to buy that.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Exopolitical Nonsense, Vol. I

Here's a question for you, gentle readers - why didn't Bill Clinton disclose the "truth" about the extraterrestrial presence on Earth?

In a recent interview with Binnall of America, here is exactly what Steven Bassett, one of the leaders of the "exopolitics / disclosure movement", said when asked that very question (as part of a long, rambling, largely incoherent interview):

"Clinton could have. He should have, because he had nothing to lose. He'd been ruined, disgraced on a personal basis, so he had nothing to lose, but he didn't. Why? Because his wife had something to lose. And so he made the decision that, 'I'm not going to engage this issue while I'm President or after I'm President because I owe my wife one presidential nomination'. I'm not going to argue with that. I'm not going to argue with that. What's the point?" [This can be found at the 50:01 minute point in Part 2 of the interview]

Aww... who knew that Billy boy, serial adulterer and liar, still had a soft spot for the missus? What a sweetie!

Can you see the conversation between Bill and Hillary?

Bill: Look, I know you're still pissed about that Lewinsky chick...

Hillary: Damn right.

Bill: But I can make it all better.

Hillary: I'm listening.

Bill: Well, you know how I was thinking of releasing all the info on the ET presence here on Earth.

Hillary: Yeah. Bad idea, Bill. That's going to change everything, which will seriously screw my chances to become President.

Bill: Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Well baby, I've decided not to do it! For you!!

Hillary: Oh, Bill... that's so sweet.

Bill: C'mere sugar - give big Billy some loving.

Hillary: You got it big Daddy-oh!


Hillary: But what about the American people?

Bill: Aw, screw them.

Hillary: Yeah!

Hillary and Bill together: Bwahahahahahahaha!

Hillary: Er, Bill, by 'screw them' you meant metaphorically, right?

Bill: Sure, baby, whatever.

CUE the Barry White music..."

Only in the bizarro universe of exopolitics, folks.

If Clinton was keeping the "truth" a secret, I have a sneaking suspicion that the real reason was... well, I think the photo above says it all.

Paul Kimball

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Crew

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with

"You scored as Enterprise D (Star Trek).
You have high ideals and know in your heart that humanity will continue to evolve in a better people. No matter what may happen, you have faith in human beings. A rare quality. Now if only the Borg would quit assimilating people."

I can live with that!

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Determining The Truth About "Disinformation"

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

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

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

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

Such as?

Well, here's a hypothetical:

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

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

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

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

How? Why?

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Kimball

Some Belated Valentine's Day Thoughts...

Several years ago, I wrote a song called "Valentine's Day" for Julia's Rain.

We recorded a demo, but never put it on an album, although we did play it live several times.

The lyrics are sure to bring a smile to the faces of lovers everywhere!

So, in the interests of spreading good feelings around the globe, here they are:

"I wish that I could be free
from this string of one night affairs,
I long for someone to look at me
but all they ever do is stare,
And no one ever stays here
long enough to say,
"I love you, my dear"
to me on Valentine's Day.

I wish that someone would rescue me
from the prison that holds my heart,
I long for someone to promise me
that we'll never be apart,
But no one ever stays here
long enough to say,
"I love you, my dear"
to me on Valentine's Day.

I dream of someone to help me escape
from this common cage,
he'll set me free and we'll run away
to be together on Valentine's Day,
but no one ever stays here
long enough to say,
"I love you, my dear"
to me on Valentine's Day,
on Valentine's Day..."

You should see the lyrics to the song I wrote about Christmas!

Paul Kimball

Oprah Moment - Vol. I

Every now and then you see a story like this, which warms the heart.

Then again, I get choked up every time I watch The Bridges of Madison County, so there you have it!

However, it also makes me wonder - if you believe in true love and soul-mates, then isn't someone getting the short end of the stick here? I mean, either their original spouses were their soul-mates, or they weren't. If they weren't...

Like I said... The Bridges of Madison County. Unlike most women, though, it was the husband I felt sorry for. He knew he wasn't her first choice, but that she stuck with him because he was a good man, out of duty. But what if, by sticking with him, she deprived him of the opportunity to find someone who would truly love him the way that she loved the Clint Eastwood character?

This story also resembles - in broad strokes (i.e. without the sci-fi cryogenics hook) - the plot of Forever Young, another movie of which I'm a fan.

Paul Kimball

Couple Reunite After More Than 60 Years

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) - Willard Mason and Ilah Ost are giving new meaning to the phrase: "Love is patient." More than 60 years ago, the couple were engaged to be married, but life's circumstances got in the way.

Now, after they each married others, raised families and their spouses died, the two are together again.

"Ilah was my first girlfriend," Mason told The Daily Telegram. "I first met her when I was a sophomore at Blissfield High School."

The two began dating and got engaged.

But in 1941, Mason moved to Ypsilanti to work at the Willow Run bomber plant. There, he met a woman named Helvi, and broke his engagement to Ost. He married Helvi in 1942.

Ost later married her husband, Marvin, and had three children before he died in 1974.

Mason's wife died in 2003, and by chance, he ran into Ost's brother in Blissfield in 2004, and he encouraged Mason to call Ost.

The two started dating, with Mason driving from his home near Houghton Lake to Adrian, where Ost lived.

On one of his trips to Adrian, Mason blacked out and struck a tree with his car. Tests showed he needed a new pacemaker, Mason said.

He then moved to near Adrian and invited Ost to move in with him.

"We get along perfectly,'' Mason said. "We've never had an argument. She's a great cook, and she takes care of me.''

Mason and Ost spend much of their time with friends and family, and Mason marvels at how the two have gotten back together after so many years.

"You don't know how our lives might have turned out if we'd gotten married in 1941,'' Mason said. "But now, she has a wonderful family and so do I.''

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Redstar on the Road... to Laughlin!

Yes, it's true - members of the intrepid Redstar crew will be at the 15th Annual International UFO Congress UFO Convention and Film Festival this year at Laughlin, Nevada.

I'll be there, along with my brother Jim, who is a producer, and our pal Veronica Reynolds, the actress / writer who will be hosting Best Evidence, among other projects she is working on with us.

As you can see from the photo at left, at least two of us will ratchet up the "beautiful people" quotient at the Conference.

And at least one of us will be there to stir the pot.

I'll leave it up to readers to determine which of us qualifies under those two categories! [on a related note, you can vote in the "Which Kimball brother is better looking?" poll here - I'm on the left of the photo, and Jim is in the center]

Veronica and I arrive in Laughlin Friday night, the 24th of February. Jim gets there a couple of days later, on Monday the 27th.

A full report on the conference goings on will appear here when I get back home - with photos, of course!

If you're going to be in Laughlin, and want to meet with any of us, just drop me a line.

And whoever has the EBE statues that I won last year, please send them along. I need a new pair of bookends!

Paul Kimball

Monday, February 13, 2006

Witnesses and Inconsistencies in Their Statements

Every now and then I come across a legal case that should be of interest to ufologists, not because it deals with UFOs, per se, but because of the principles involved, or the results.

For example, here are the relevant portions of R. v. Hechavarria [2006 O.J. 450], a recent Ontario Court of Appeals case that I read today (I have bolded the bits that apply to ufology):

"[1] The appellant appeals his conviction on three counts of robbery and two counts of using a firearm while committing the robberies.

[2] It was alleged that the appellant and his accomplice robbed the three complainants while driving around in search for money and drugs. The case depended entirely on the testimony of the complainants with no confirmatory evidence.

[3] There were numerous inconsistencies in the evidence of the three complainants. They included inconsistencies about: the description of a knife and its use, the attendance of an ATM machine, a meeting to buy a bicycle, an attempt to escape, assaults on the complainants, the descriptionof the gun used in the robberies, and a drug deal.

[4] It was clear that the complainants had lied to the police in their descriptions of the robberies.

[5] The complainants were extensively cross-examined on all issues. The appellant and his accomplice did not testify.

[6] It was alleged that there was an opportunity of collusion among the three complainants before and during the trial..."

Now, Hechavarria, understandably, appealed. After all, there were inconsistencies in the testimony of the complainants, and the complainants had lied to the police.

The result of the appeal? The conviction was confirmed (and Hechavarria's sentence was increased).

"Huh?" the non-lawyer might say. "That sounds manifestly unfair, and unjust!"

Perhaps, but appearances can be deceiving.

From the reasons given by the Court of Appeal:

"The trial judge was of the view that the inconsistencies were essentially immaterial on essential matters. In other words, they did not go to the core issues of whether the appellant used a gun and demanded money from the complainants... The trial judge [was] entitled to accept their explanations for their initial lies to the police and to find that, on essential matters, they were telling the truth in their evidence at trial."

What is key here, in ufological as well as criminal justice terms, is that not every statement made by a witness needs to be consistent, either with his own statement, or that of others. In short, a witness is entitled to make mistakes. They can even lie to the police (although never on the witness stand), so long as they can provide a good reason for why they did so when challenged on it at trial.

Remember, this was a criminal case. The standard was "beyond a reasonable doubt." There was NO confirmatory "hard" evidence. And yet the accused was still convicted.

So, you might say, maybe Michael Salla et al aren't so wrong about their various whistleblowers (like Phil Corso) after all. Their inconsistencies aren't that important. If they've lied here and there, then it can be overlooked.

To reach that conclusion, however, would be to ignore the most important line of the decision.

Which line was it?

This one:

"The complainants were extensively cross-examined on all issues."

And that's the problem with the "whistleblowers" put forward by Salla et al - there has been no "extensive cross-examination" by objective questioners of their various claims, and their various inconsistencies. There has definitely not been an impartial judge sitting there determining whether the whistleblowers can be believed or not (in the case of ufology, the impartial judge would be effective peer review). The best we can do is to have guys like Kevin Randle, Brad Sparks and Stan Friedman point out the inconsistencies from written transcripts of interviews conducted by others, usually exopolitical types who have a bias in favour of believing the stories of the whistleblowers (I once asked Salla if there were any whistleblowers he didn't believe - he couldn't think of one). Even then, the exopolitical types simply brush off these critiques. In the process, they seek to act as both the defence attorney and the judge.

So, R. v. Hechavarria if of no real use to the exopolitics types unless they change their methodology and relationship with other, more skeptical, ufologists.

It is, however, applicable to UFO incident witnesses who may have inconsistencies in their statements.

To the debunkers, who would simply focus in on those inconsistencies, I offer R. v. Hechavarria as proof that, in a court of law, the question is not whether there are inconsistencies, but whether there are any inconsistencies that are relevant to the issue at hand. If a person says he saw a UFO, and in his first statement states that it occurred at 5:00 pm, and then in a later statement states 5:15 pm, that inconsistency may be irrelevant if the details of his sighting remain consistent in both statements.

To the believers, however, I offer R. v. Hechavarria for another purpose - to show that only by rigourously examining the statements of witnesses (which believers often decry as unfair) can we render those statements worthy of consideration. The statements of witnesses cannot be simply accepted at face value. They must be probed carefully, and methodically. The witness must be questioned, and challenged on any inconsistencies. Only after this process will a statement emerge that can withstand close scrutiny from others.

Without this process, the statement, no matter how sincere the witness seems, is essentially worthless.

Paul Kimball

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Best Band of the 1980s Poll

Here's a poll that has nothing to do with UFOs, and more to do with my own curiosity (thus, it is not an "official" Other Side of Truth monthly poll).

What Was the Best Band of the 1980s?

If you go with "Other", leave a comment and let me know who you would have picked.

Paul Kimball

Interim February Poll Results

The results to date for February's poll:

Which has discredited the serious study of the UFO phenomenon the most?

The Contactee Movement - 52 votes (38%)
The Condon Report - 42 votes (31%)
Majestic-12 - 26 votes (19%)
Exopolitics - 16 votes (12%)
Frank Scully's Behind the Flying Saucers - o votes (0%)

The poll is still open, until the end of the month. If you haven't voted already, you can do so here.

For the record, I voted for The Condon Report.

Paul Kimball

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stuart Adamson

If you grew up in the 1980s, then you knew Big Country - even if only for the couple of years when they were riding on the top of the pop charts. If I had a dollar for every time I hung out with my best mate Pete, had a few drinks while listening to Big Country, and talked about everything under the sun (and the moon, by the time the night was over), I'd have... well, enough money for a really good steak dinner.

So, as I sit here working on a budget for a future film project (oh, the excitement, the glamour, of the film industry), listening to Big Country's breakthrough album, The Crossing, I can't help but thinking... I miss Stuart Adamson, the band's singer / songwriter who passed away, far too young, in 2001.

There's no one band that would form the soundtrack to my life. Instead, it would be three - Big Country, U2 and the Smiths. I love the Beatles, but I didn't grow up with them. Their music is timeless, but the "experience" belongs to another generation. Big Country? The Smiths? U2? That's my generation. That's my music.

With Big Country (like the Smiths and U2) it was as much the lyrics as the music that resonated with me. For anyone who thinks the 1980s were a wasteland of pop music, the only thing I can say is that you just weren't listening to the bands that I was listening to (although I also have a soft spot for groups like ABC and The Human League). You can catch a performance of "Harvest Home", from Big Country's last tour, in 2000, here. If you're not familiar with their music, it's never too late to start!

Some of my favourite Adamson lyrics?

From "East of Eden" (Steeltown album):

"Some days will stay a thousand years
Some pass like the flash of a spark
Who knows where all our days go?"

That seems to mean more to me now, having just hit 39, than it did at 17!

From "What Are You Working For?" (The Buffalo Skinners album):

"Now I see what I must see
The poor do time the rich go free
You keep the faith and they keep score
Is this what you were working for"

More apropos than ever, I think.

From "Girl With Grey Eyes" (Steeltown album)

"You make me smile with all the feeling
That you deal in like a gambler
It makes me feel that I’m a winner
Or a sinner and I’m branded"

Always betwixt and between. We can all relate.

Another favourite is "1000 Stars" from The Crossing (which is one of the great first albums in history). Given what's going on in the world today it is, sadly, just as relevant now as it was then - here are the lyrics in their entirety:

"Now we play our final hand
Move in closer, understand
This time like never before
Only the black queen scores
A card so high and so wild
We should burn it

The luck of a thousand stars
Can't get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm

There are people I have loved
Hypnotized by lies
In defensive disguise
Some say protect and survive
I say it's over

The luck of a thousand stars
Can't get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm

Hold me through the darkest night
I feel secure in your arms
While all the city's on fire
It's not between you and me
But we are losing

The luck of a thousand stars
Can't get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Can't get me out of this
The luck of a thousand stars
Losing its charm"

If you're curious as to what the song is about, check out this website.

Anyway, I miss Stuart Adamson. I didn't know him, of course, but his music connected with me, and many, many others. His was a voice of passion. His was the voice of a poet. He was one of the artists who inspired me to become a musician, and form a band. If there was ever anyone that my music resonated with, some of the credit belongs to Adamson.

U2 is still going strong, as good now as they were twenty years ago (an amazing feat), and if the Smiths aren't around anymore, Morrissey's solo career has been a pretty good substitute. Adamson, however, is gone.

Fortunately, the music he made lives on, as immediate and relevant today as it was when I first heard it.

Paul Kimball

My Life as a Movie

Thanks to Mac Tonnies at Posthuman Blues for the referral.

My life as a movie - the answer I got pretty much covers it. It's like these little quizzes can reach into the very depths of my soul!

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.

But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

It is true that I've always been a fan of Showgirls. I think it was the fact that a fair bit of it was set in a strip club, although it may have been the top notch acting.
Yeah, that's it. The top notch acting.
Paul Kimball

Monday, February 06, 2006

Once a Cappy, Always a Cappy

Give it a try - it pegged me for the correct sign.

You Should Be A Capricorn
What's good about you: hard working and ambitious, you're practically a guaranteed success

What's bad about you: you can be unforgiving toward people who fail you

In love: you're very picky, but extremely devoted to the one you choose

In friendship, you're: likely to be a good friend but expect a lot in return

Your ideal job: rock climber, sculptor, or practitioner of black magic

Your sense of fashion: preppy and put together

You like to pig out on: meat and potatoes

It must be fate - as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. Literally. If I was on death row, and had to pick a last meal, it would be my Mom's meat loaf, potatoes and gravy.

Mmm... gravy.

Paul Kimball

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Phil Klass - A Spy for the FBI?

When Phil Klass died last year, more than a few people said words to the effect of: “Now that he’s dead we’ll be able to check his files and find out if he was working for the government.”

Well, the FBI has released its files on Klass (the files can be found here, thanks to CUFON). A few pages were withheld in the interests of national security, which probably has nothing to do with UFOs and everything to do with some of the material about which Klass wrote, and was looked into for national security violations for having done so, as well as redacted information within the released files, most of which seems to relate to personal information, or sources and methods.

So – was Klass an agent of the FBI?


The materials in the FBI files show that the FBI thought Klass was a pest, and that they didn’t have a great deal of respect for him or his opinions.

For example, a memo dated 21 February 1975 reveals that on the 18th of February, 1975, Klass called the Editor of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin to complain about an article by famed ufologist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, “The UFO Mystery”, which has appeared in the February, 1975 issue. According to the memo, Klass “derided” the decision to publish the article, suggested that by doing so the FBI had “given its endorsement to a hoax (that UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin),” and called Hynek a “fraud”. Klass then stated that he had “investigated UFO sightings with the thoroughness of the FBI over a period of many years” (a statement which must have amused the FBI), and had not found “one shred of evidence that they were from beyond earth’s atmosphere”.

When Klass was informed of the FBI’s positive view of Dr. Hynek, especially that he was affiliated with a leading university (Northwestern), Klass replied, “He won’t be for long!”

This didn’t affect the FBI’s assessment of Dr. Hynek, as is clear from the memo: “All of his writings and public statements that were examined prior to the publication of his article in the Bulletin disclose a meticulously objective and scientific view of the UFO phenomenon.”

In other words, the exact opposite of the FBI’s view of Klass. The memo concludes by stating that, “In view of Klass’s intemperate criticism and often irrational statements he made to support it, we should be most circumspect in any future contacts with him.”

This was a remark that followed Klass from that point on whenever he dealt with the FBI, often being referred to in later memos. For example, when Klass wrote two letters in 1987, the first to question whether the FBI employed psychics, and the second to complain about a psychic being brought in to lecture to students at the FBI Academy, the memo attached to the letters and the FBI’s responses includes the reminder that the 1975 memo had stated ‘in view of Klass’ intemperate criticism and often irrational statements… it was recommended that the Bureau be most circumspect in any future contacts with him.”

Undeterred, Klass followed up on 14 June, 1975, with a letter to FBI Director Clarence Kelley (pictured, at left) in which he wrote:

“The enclosed photo-copy of a headline and feature story in a recent issue of the tabloid “The National Tattler” is a portent of the sort of “FBI endorsement” for the flying-saucer myth that you can expect to see, repeatedly, as a result of the article on UFOs carried by the February issue of the Law Enforcement Bulletin. That article was written by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the spiritual leader of the vocal group of “believers” and “kooks” who claim that we are being visited by extraterrestrial spaceships. While the FBI did not endorse Hynek’s views per se, the decision to publish his article and to alert law enforcement agencies as to what to do “if they land,” has embroiled the agency for all time.”

Klass continued:

“The Hynek article published by the FBI encourages law enforcement officers to take the time – from much more pressing duties – to take calls from people who report seeing UFOs and to in turn relay such calls to Hynek’s own UFO group. Surely in these times law enforcement officers have more useful things to occupy their time and attention.”

At the end of the letter, Klass offered to write an article for the Law Enforcement Bulletin that would present the “other side” of the UFO issue.

Kelley’s response was contained in a letter he wrote dated 23 June, 1975:

“Quite contrary to the news clipping you enclosed, Dr. Hynek’s article has been accurately and rationally reported by the media throughout the country. None of the responsible media, to my knowledge, have ignored the clearly stated theme of the article: ‘[r]egardless of the source of UFOs or their legitimacy, these sightings represented a real problem for law enforcement…’ to whom persons normally first report their observations. This is the only premise the FBI has endorsed in publishing the article. I could not agree more with your implication that law enforcement personnel should look after their primary responsibility – crime, not UFOs. This is precisely the reason we believe the Center for UFO Studies can help free law enforcement personnel from investigating and reporting on phenomena unassociated with crime.”

Fairly kind words re: CUFOS from the FBI, and certainly not the disparagement of the UFO phenomenon for which Klass was no doubt hoping (Kelley politely declined Klass’s offer to write an article in response to Hynek’s).

Privately, FBI officials were scathing about Klass. Attached to the Kelley letter is a memo that states:

“Klass is well known to us… [He] is deficient in all points of his argument, particularly concerning the credentials of Dr. Hynek which would scarcely be better. Hynek has been associated professorially with some of the finest universities in this country and is recognized in the most prestigious scientific circles. On the otherhand, Klass has no such sterling reputation and has twice been under FBI investigation in connection with the unauthorized publication of classified information. Both of these cases have been closed.”

This latter point, about Klass publishing classified materials without authorization, is ironic, given his role in the MJ-12 circus. Other memos in the file reveal that the only reason Klass wasn’t prosecuted is that the classified information he had used could not be declassified for the purposes of prosecution (Memo, 11 May, 1976).

Lucky for Klass.

What can be gleaned from these files is a portrait of a man who was neither respected nor liked by the FBI, who was in fact seen as an “accusatory and argumentative” trouble-maker, and who could not be trusted, given both his previous publishing of classified material and his “intemperate criticism and irrational statements” (i.e. he was a loose cannon).

In the vernacular?

He could be a mean-spirited pain in the ass – no surprise there to many ufologists – but he was also about as far from being an FBI agent as you could get.

Paul Kimball