Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Army Cold War Chemical Research Report

"I recommended, and my boss agreed, to destroy all of the individual records of the evaluations because things occurred during the interrogation situation, while they were under the drug, that could have been taken out of context later and used against them in an adverse manner, and so to protect the individuals who were involuntarily reacting to these situations, I destroyed the individual records involved."
- Testimony of Col. Lawrence W. Jackley 

A declassified 1976 Army Inspector General report, Use of Volunteers in Chemical Agent Research, was recently posted by governmentattic.org. The 264-page document chronicles some 25 years of Army chemical research, development, and testing on humans. Composed in the wake of 1970's Congressional inquiries and hearings, points of interest in the report include:

  • From 1950 to 1975 the Army studied approximately 34,500 chemical compounds, with 32 agents, including hallucinogens such as LSD, selected for clinical testing on volunteers. 
  • The scope of the operations included the Army Medical Research Laboratory, which in 1954 employed 32 college-educated officers, 130 enlisted scientific and professional personnel, and 117 civilian workers educated at Harvard, Stanford, Duke and other leading universities.
  • The Army supplied personnel for a secret Special Purpose Team which conducted field tests on global "nonvolunteers." Aspects of the operation took place on a strict needs to know basis and "was clear from the outset to the conclusion the project violated Department of Defense and Department of the Army policies and procedures for conduct of chemical/medical research." 
  • Although most American military test participants were termed "volunteers," the report concluded coercion occurred, with one psychiatrist at Fort McClellan, 1959-1961, stating servicemen who declined to submit to experiments were sent to him for evaluation as to why they chose not to take LSD.
  • While defending its integrity and competence, the Army nonetheless acknowledged records were lost or nonexistent in some cases, protocols were subject to wide interpretation, and the chain of command was not always sought to approve test conditions as required. Informed consent was clearly not obtained from all test subjects, and in some instances women and members of other demographics prohibited from screening were used anyway.
  • A soldier accused of removing classified documents was never charged after "prolonged interrogations" conducted by the Special Purpose Team included hypnosis and administration of LSD. A decision not to court martial was reached for reasons including the desire to uphold secrecy surrounding the activities of the team, "the soldier's recollections of the 'bizarre methods' employed" by the group, and the unanimous opinion of consulting psychiatrists the man had severe psychiatric disorders. He was issued a General Discharge in 1961. 
  • In 1958 tests conducted on members of the 7th Special Forces Group included monitoring the soldiers as they attempted to resist interrogation after having been clandestinely administered hallucinogens. The project officer, Col. Lawrence W. Jackley, testified in 1975 there was so much variance in reaction the exercise was useless. He and his boss made the decision to destroy all of the records, Jackley stated, because "things occurred" during interrogation and he wanted "to protect the individuals who were reacting involuntarily to these situations."

Historical Context

"An English calvaryman and his horse
ride through a gas attack wearing protective masks
and body cover, 1934," according to History in Pictures
A history of chemical testing is summarized in the report, touching on chemical warfare long predating the 1950-1975 era primarily explored. The Army offers explanations and justifications for its long term testing of chemical compounds for use on humans. Some of the dynamics and perspectives expressed will be recognized by those familiar with such Cold War operations. 

Particular emphasis is given to the importance of Russian advances in the field. Historians and researchers will correlate the reference with American justifications for behavior modification, or mind control, projects. Works such as The Search for the Manchurian Candidate by John Marks documented at length how U.S. officials blamed Russian research efforts for the need to conduct such operations as MKULTRA, justifiably or otherwise. Marks notably quoted a CIA officer, who wrote of the project in a memo to his boss, "If this is supposed to be covered up as a defensive feasibility study, it's pretty damn transparent."

Interestingly, the Army IG took the justification a bit further than simply blaming states hostile to U.S. interests, and suggested the Army was placed in a no-win situation by the American press: The media, the IG argued, covered and repeatedly emphasized the Russian threat of chemical warfare to such an extent the Army was criticized for not taking strong enough defensive action and later criticized for action it took. It's actually a rather well presented point - and would carry even greater weight - were it not for the things we now know can be read between the lines of the IG report, talented as its authors may have been. 

Correlations

It should be emphasized, as was the case in the report, the material covered is not intended to address ventures by the CIA such as MKULTRA, Department of Defense operations such as Project 112, or other biological and chemical weapons testing involving humans outside the direct responsibility of the Army. The subject matter nonetheless overlaps. The report acknowledges it was a massive undertaking to attempt to effectively summarize the 25 years of circumstances, and clarifies it was simply not possible to obtain documentation where records were missing or admittedly destroyed. The IG stated license was taken at times to attempt to fill in the gaps. 

The report documents assembly of a Special Purpose Team, the existence and activities of which correlate with research published by Hank P. Albarelli, Jr. and Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, and considered in my book, The Greys Have Been Framed. The team conducted missions into the 1960's consisting of field experimentation later denounced by the IG, including plans to subject Vietnamese prisoners of war to chemical experiments. The report states no evidence was obtained to indicate the mission was carried out. Nonetheless, plenty of documentation is provided of related activities undertaken by the group and its questionable, yet unnamed, personnel and their international assignments. For several reasons I'm not entirely confident evidence of the Vietnamese mission would have surfaced even if it existed.

"The opinion of witnesses [which were Special Purpose Team members] as to why the project was aborted varied," the report states. "In fact, no two offered the same reason..."

Concerning another project executed by the Special Purpose Team, the report explained, "Arrangements were made with the intelligence staff members [redacted] to provide orientals of various nationalities for use in LSD experiments."

Research conducted on U.S. servicemen included a scheme to assemble, drug, and interrogate subjects at a cocktail party-like event. Those familiar with related declassified material will recognize the correlation to a plan hatched by CIA behavioral research czar Morse Allen, who envisioned snatching an unsuspecting individual from a social event and programming them via drugs and hypnosis to conduct an assassination. A few variations of the objective of Allen's proposal existed, including prioritizing the implementation itself, as compared to whether or not the kill was actually carried out (see The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, page 138).

Sid Gottlieb and attorney, circa 1977
Quickly coming to mind might also be MKULTRA Project Director Sidney Gottlieb's ill conceived act of covertly drugging members of the Army Chemical Corps Special Operations Division during a 1953 working retreat. Among the targeted were scientist Frank Olson, who died the next week following a now infamous fall from a Manhattan hotel room window. There was no mention of the circumstances in the IG report, although aspects of the chemical divisions were of course referenced repeatedly.

It is noteworthy The Black Vault obtained and posted an FBI file on Sidney Gottlieb. It indicates in 1975 the Bureau wanted to interview the CIA man concerning the destruction of records. It appears after exchanges between the FBI and Gottlieb's attorney the interview never took place. I find the FBI file of historical significance, including its copy of a 1975 WaPo article referencing such CIA records destruction.

Experiments on the 7th Special Forces Group covered in the Army IG file included dosing the soldiers with LSD while they were assigned guard duty and instructed to deny entry to an area by anyone not having a special pass. "Penetration of the guard post was accomplished easily," the report stated.

Research in question took place in some circumstances in direct violation of clear orders to refrain from conducting involuntary testing. The chain of command was persistently ignored, be it by design, due to drug-induced dysfunction or combinations thereof. We see templates of the same schemes arising again and again over the years and from one operation and declassified document to another. Sensory deprivation, interrogation techniques, airborne compounds rendering military units disoriented, and similar themes come up repeatedly. In my opinion, this suggests a majority of researchers were unaware of the classified activities of other departments, while better informed agency directors and key personnel attempted to tweak concepts now seen repeatedly surfacing in what were widely conducted, ongoing experiments. The circumstances also lend support to the long held criticism that similar "research" activities were conducted across blurring project lines in attempts to skirt accountability. And sometimes personnel were just stoned.  

Conclusions


Despite worthy efforts by the Army to frame its activities as professional, organized and systematic, the disarray is evident. While it is not denied in some instances, it's not directly addressed in others. Among them are the testimonies cited of Dr. Van Murray Sim.

Sim, as history now shows us, was a mess. He's one of the guys, readers will recall, who dropped acid and partook in other substance abuse while drugging and supposedly monitoring volunteers at Edgewood Arsenal. He was also appointed by the Secretary of the Army as physician responsible for volunteers in chemical warfare research. Twice. The Army IG report fails to detail Dr. Sim's less respectable activities.

Nonetheless, I found the report to be an important read. It's historical context is relevant. Dozens of institutions and thousands of volunteers are referenced as taking part in Army chemical testing, and the report contains a wealth of information for potential future FOIA requests. I find it intriguing to note ways certain circumstances are glossed over or omitted from mention of which researchers are now aware. 

While some chemical testing projects spiraled into dysfunction (one unit was cited in which LSD "demonstrations" became part of orientation exercises, later nixed by Army brass due to the fact the practice had nothing whatsoever to do with actual research protocols), we should not allow the semi-comical stories to overshadow the truly disturbing circumstances. A realistic analysis of research into chemical warfare and behavior modification conducted by the American intelligence community includes, in my opinion, acknowledging that ineptitude and competence were both involved. The combination of competence and circumstances of potentially relevant yet currently unpublished details may quite possibly be a primary reason so much of the material was intentionally destroyed and/or remains classified.

For instance, Dr. Kaye recently explained how his 2016 FOIA request was denied for the 1957 CIA Inspector General report on operations of the Technical Services Division, which included Project MKULTRA, behavioral research and related activities. That's 60 years now that docs are still withheld. Kaye indicated the CIA responded the request was denied for reasons including the report contained information about "the identity of a confidential human source or a human intelligence source; or... key design concepts of weapons of mass destruction."

I think it's more than evident from the declassified material that a much different scenario emerges of the intelligence community than is contained in the popular narrative. We simply have no way of knowing what else would be revealed by the docs that remain classified. I have my doubts we'll ever fully know, or that we can completely trust the integrity of the declassification process, but I hold out hope we'll continue to obtain increasingly clear pictures.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Branching Out

Our research interests may change as our horizons widen. This may ironically come about through honing in on specific aspects of reported UFOs and related phenomena such as alleged alien abduction. Focusing on finer points can result in studying potentially important yet often overlooked subject matter. In my experience, a working knowledge of some of the following topics is essential to understanding various theories and explanations offered. Whether or not we choose to pursue such theories, we simply will not understand them if we remain uninformed.

Psychological Trauma

This is square one. It may very well be among the most significant and least understood aspects of the UFO community. In my admittedly professionally unqualified opinion, symptoms of psychological trauma and the related emotional distress account for the vast majority of reports of alien abduction, high strangeness, military abductees (MILABS), targeted individuals (TIs) and similar titles applied. I have come to the conclusion we must accept that to be the case in order to proceed rationally and credibly. 

That stated, I do not consider myself entitled to tell people what did or did not happen to them. People may interpret experiences as they choose and discuss them as they see fit. Psychological and physiological conditions, relevant as they may be, do not account for all reports. As researchers, we are best served to proceed cautiously, professionally, and respectfully.

Hypnotist Barbara Lamb, who "helps" people learn they
are ET-human hybrids and presents them at conferences
Challenges arise when self-described investigators put forth witness testimonies as supportive of a preferred hypothesis, such as alleged alien abduction and/or military abduction, while refusing to entertain alternative, more likely possibilities. Similar challenges arise when organizations, such as the Mutual UFO Network and the International UFO Congress, offer such researchers (or the human subjects of their research) platforms to promote their interpretations while claiming to be dedicated to scientific study. Doing so tends to take the witness narration more into public scrutiny, as it arguably should at that point. At the least, the professional research process requires questioning the methodologies of the "researchers" involved once they play the science card. That bleeds into issues of ethics and integrity as have been explored on this blog at length, and I'm sure we will consider them more in the future. 

My current point, please, is that if we do not make intentional efforts to adequately understand such inherently human conditions as emotional trauma and false memories, and how they pertain to ufology, we are left with substantially incomplete renderings of the very topic we claim to pursue. It is a given that many reports involve incorrect interpretations, so it is only reasonable to acknowledge that to be the case while taking the responsibility to learn more about how they manifest and encouraging others to do the same.   

Additional reading:

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Trauma, helpguide.org

How childhood trauma could affect your life expectancy, relationships and mental health, Independent

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part One: Sharon Weinberger and Nigel Watson on Responsible Reporting, The UFO Trail

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part Two: Mark Pilkington on Deception Operations, Witness Claims and More, The UFO Trail 

False Memories 

I recently browsed some UFO discussion forums and discovered participants who remain terribly under informed about topics such as memory functions and dynamics surrounding hypnosis. If you're considering reasons ufology gains no traction, this is a huge one.

Witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence. I'm more than willing to reiterate it's not my place to accept and reject claims of personal experiences, but if we want to present testimonies as indicative of a preferred hypothesis, collaborating evidence is extremely helpful.

The work of such experts as Loftus, Shaw, Morgan, and what has now become the accepted paradigm of the entire scientific community demonstrates memories are riddled with inaccuracies. It's a characteristic of human memory. It's also been demonstrated again and again how easily people can be led to form memories of events that never happened. 

Point for emphasis: A hypnosis subject does not have to be intentionally led in order to produce false memories. It can occur during a biased, ill advised hypnotic search for memories of aliens. Actually, it's extremely likely. That's a big part of the point. The same can be said for (non-hypnosis) interviews conducted by overeager "investigators."

Additional reading:

Memory Distortion and False Memory Creation, Elizabeth Loftus, PhD 

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened, Association for Psychological Science   

Most of us recall events that never happened, Unexplained Mysteries

Classified Flying Objects

We've heard UFO witnesses explain, "It wasn't any kind of craft like I've ever seen. It couldn't have been one of ours."

Aerial refueling
It should be apparent that unless a person is up on classified aircraft and related advancements, they're not in a position to offer such an assessment. There have been fascinating developments in manned and unmanned aerial vehicles over the years, and our eyes might play tricks on us when we see things we're not used to seeing, such as planes refueling during flight. Did you know, for instance, NOVA reported in 2013 about an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies? 

At the risk of sounding cynical, this point has long perplexed me. I find it difficult to identify anything other than cultural conditioning (scifi, movies, questionable talk radio, etc.) as a primary reason one would suspect a flying object not to be made by humans. 

To try to offer some context, isn't it kind of like not knowing the make and model of an automobile that drives past and then jumping to the conclusion it must have been manufactured by non-human beings? What would lead a person to think such a thing about aircraft? The answer to that question would be movies like Star Wars and stories like Lonnie Zamora, but I think my point is valid: If it's flying around and it's a physical craft, one should suppose it's made by humans until substantial reasons arise to think differently.

Additional reading:

One Nation Under DronesThe UFO Trail

Thought Drones Were New to the Skies? Think AgainThe UFO Trail

One of Those Posts About Validated Conspiracy TheoriesThe UFO Trail

Intelligence Community

The problem with discussing the influence of the intelligence community in ufology is that many people who would challenge its significance do not have a working knowledge of its history and circumstances. While it is admittedly difficult to identify cause and effect in the often nebulous and confusing intersections of the intel and UFO communities, that doesn't change the fact many interested in the latter know nearly nothing about the former, and it doesn't change the fact those intersections are indeed easy to demonstrate.

What's more, the lack of knowledge of or interest in the IC is found throughout both demographics of what we might term believers and skeptics. It's okay if they're not interested, but it's unbecoming to attempt to argue about topics that they are obviously unequipped to meaningfully discuss in the first place.

In order to add constructively to such discussions, one should not only make efforts to understand specific points presented by others, but activities and context of the applicable era as well. Recent developments in the U.S. intelligence community serve as excellent examples of ways volatile and dramatic situations may arise, as well as the importance of understanding their significance when exploring events that surround them.

Additional reading:

Influence of the Intelligence Community in Ufology, The UFO Trail

Psy Ops and Mind Control: Then, Now and the UFO Community, The UFO Trail

In closing, I'd like to add that the same dynamics could be applied virtually across the board to UFO research: If it's not something you're interested in, and you haven't spent time researching it, perhaps you shouldn't try to explain it to others.

For example, my interest in UFOs - literal reports of unidentified flying objects - has admittedly decreased significantly in recent years. I have come to be much more intrigued by cultural aspects of ufology. You therefore won't find me going on at length about something I choose not to pursue and I recognize as an area in which others develop a substantial knowledge base.

I identify the differences between things I suspect and things which can be demonstrated to be factual. I'm willing to change my mind when facts dictate. I most respect the work and actions of others who show abilities to do the same, and those are the people I'm most willing to learn from and with. Partisan arguing is unbecoming and unproductive on either side of the aisle. Most importantly, it's not on the path to truth.     

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's About Time

"The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history."
- George Orwell, 1984

Ghost rocket era photo
released by Swedish army
70 years. That's how long it's been since intelligence analysts coined the term "ghost rockets" for select reports of aerial phenomena. Some UFO researchers eventually attributed the sightings to extraterrestrial visitation, a remarkably unsupported conclusion.

69 years. That's the amount of time since Kenneth Arnold reported seeing multiple unidentified flying objects while involved in an investigation of what turned out to be an extremely suspicious UFO case.

69 years is also the time since Project Seal, which had actually been discontinued, was misrepresented to the press as an ongoing top secret operation involving an airborne super weapon on the scale of the atomic bomb. Articles about the Arnold sighting and what would later prove to be the false weapons development story were in at least one instance published on the same newspaper page.

It's also been 69 years since the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release stating the 509th Operations Group recovered a "flying disc," quickly followed by a second statement advising a "weather balloon" was retrieved. The story went on to - oh, never mind. Let's just say decades of unreliable research and unverified claims were followed by a hair brained mummy story and an unpublished debate.

Allen Dulles
63 years. That's how long since DCI Allen Dulles formally green lighted MKULTRA, a behavior modification project consisting of torture, drugs, hypnosis and involuntary human experimentation. It's been 53 years since the creation of the KUBARK interrogation manual which contained techniques for use on uncooperative detainees. It was 14 years since the Bush administration began using Guantanamo Bay as a prison, and seven years since ex-Bush official Lawrence B. Wilkerson told the AP most detainees were innocent and there was no meaningful attempt to discriminate who was transported to Cuba for interrogation. Two years is how long since the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its 500-page summary of the still classified 6,000-page CIA torture report, and it's been a little over a year since publication of the Hoffman Report, a document calling into serious question the relationship between the CIA and American Psychological Association. It was about a year ago the ACLU filed a lawsuit against two psychologists who developed "enhanced interrogation techniques" for the Agency, and it's been a few days since writer and researcher Joseph Hickman, who served in the 629th Military Intelligence Battalion at Guantanamo Bay, stated in an interview that ideas about operations and techniques used at Gitmo came from the MKULTRA program. For more info see the work of Jeffrey Kaye, the reporting of Jason Leopold, and the Seton Hall Law Center paper, Guantanamo: America's Battle Lab, among other sources.

60 years is the length of time it's been since the FBI launched Counterintelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. It was a brutal effort, later acknowledged by the FBI to be "rightfully criticized," to "expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize" targeted organizations. About a month is how long it's been since the FBI director questionably chose to formally announce an investigation of a presidential candidate while failing to disclose the Bureau's quite likely investigation of a rival candidate

David Jacobs
Over half a century. It's now been 53 years since Dr. Benjamin Simon employed hypnosis with Betty and Barney Hill. In spite of all the material now published by qualified experts establishing hypnosis as extremely ineffective as a memory enhancer - and the fact Dr. Simon was reportedly treating trauma, not conducting a UFO investigation - a segment of the UFO community continues to promote hypnosis-induced testimonies as accurate interpretations of objective reality. It's been some 40 years since Leo Sprinkle influenced the genre with his hypnotic regressions, 35 years since Budd Hopkins employed hypnosis to establish himself as a supposed UFO expert, and 20+ years since former MUFON Director of Abduction Research John Carpenter covertly provided Robert Bigelow with data, including recordings of hypnosis sessions, from case files of alleged alien abductees in exchange for cash. It was six years ago the story broke that amateur hypnotist David Jacobs instructed Emma Woods during telephone hypnosis sessions to tell people she suffers from multiple personality disorder, consider wearing a chastity belt - that he could send her - as a strategy for dealing with alleged ET-human hybrids, and mail him her unwashed underpants without thinking about it afterwards. Jacobs rather incredibly described himself as an advocate of scientific methodology. 

27 years ago Bill Moore, while delivering his keynote speech at the annual MUFON con, told attendees he collaborated with Richard Doty and additional undisclosed members of the intelligence community to publish disinformation directed at Paul Bennewitz and the collective UFO community.

Vance Davis of the GB6
26 years ago half a dozen NSA intel analysts deserted their posts in West Germany and lit out for Florida to protect the world from the Antichrist. Claiming to be under the direction of aliens and Mother Mary, the group, dubbed the Gulf Breeze Six, was eventually taken into custody - under arguably unusual circumstances - literally down the street from where the annual MUFON con had just wrapped up. The late Philip Coppens reported that when the case was declassified, 1400 of its 1600 pages were withheld.    

20 years is how long we've been tolerating fantastic stories of Skinwalker Ranch since an article ran in the Eugene Register-Guard. The article stated property owner Robert Bigelow declined an interview, while CIA consultant and non-lethal weapons expert John Alexander told the newspaper details of how or why research was being conducted would not be provided. Former ranch owner Terry Sherman said Bigelow had him sign a nondisclosure agreement. It was five years ago James Carrion wrote he and an accompanying scientist were denied access to the ranch, and Bigelow, during dealings with MUFON, moved funds on behalf of an undisclosed financial sponsor, the identity of which was revealed only to John Schuessler, but not to the rest of the MUFON board of directors.

It's been over three years since UFO disclosure activist Steve Bassett stated, "The goal of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure is the end of the truth embargo in 2013," and two years since he announced a "concentrated three-month effort" which, if followed by Congressional hearings, would make it "quite likely the truth embargo will collapse." It's been six months since Bassett declared, "We are going to get disclosure this year," adding that he was 85 percent sure Obama would make an announcement before leaving office.

Atacama humanoid, featured in Stephen Greer film 
Two years ago Stephen Greer, who considers himself the father of the disclosure movement, released a crowdfunded film that would once and for all blow the lid off UFO secrecy. A year ago he initiated crowdfunding for a film that would once and for all blow the lid off UFO secrecy.

Last week Gene Steinberg, a podcaster who's perpetually spinning one suspicious story or other about why everyone should send him their money, wrote his e-list that he's falling behind on rent for a residence he urged them to send him cash to obtain in the first place about two months ago. 

You were right if you chose less than a week on the over/under on how long it would take the new International Association of UAP Researchers (IAUAPR) to stumble into public relations problems. Just a few days after issuing a release about its intentions to up ufology's game via such activities as accepting and reviewing research papers, the group's organizer became entangled in social media flame-throwing about proper protocol for conducting professional research.

Right now - as Van Halen put it - Tom DeLonge is promoting work which includes an upcoming film framing the U.S. intelligence community as heroic for its cover-up of alleged aliens. He says he has high level sources in his disclosure camp. Good thing, 'cause we're obviously an extremely discriminating bunch about where we get our information.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Attorney Sentenced to 12 Years in Hypnosis Case


Readers of my nonfiction book, The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community, will recall the circumstances of Michael Fine, an Ohio attorney accused of hypnotizing female clients without their knowledge or consent and sexually molesting them. He recently pleaded guilty to five counts of kidnapping and one count of attempted kidnapping in the case. Fine was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

His hypnotic exploits reportedly occurred by telephone as well as in person. At least one victim began to piece the circumstances together due to her fragmented memories of her interactions with Fine, who she hired to represent her in a child custody case. She would have trouble recalling what the two discussed by telephone, and in person she would find her clothes disheveled and similar disturbing discoveries after departing from meetings. She eventually alerted police who covertly recorded the beginning of one such meeting, stopped the interaction, and built a case involving five more women reportedly exploited and abused by the now permanently disbarred attorney.

The case carries a lot of implications from a number of perspectives. Obviously, the UFO community should give a great deal of consideration to not only the use of hypnosis as a memory enhancer, but the activities of the so-called experts it's willing to promote - but that should have already been clear long ago. It's not as if we should need a police investigation in Ohio to tell us there's a problem when an amateur hypnotist talks to hypnosis subjects, during hypnosis, about his sexual interests and activities, but it indeed appears ufology can't or won't acknowledge it. See the mishandling of the Emma Woods case by David Jacobs and its rationalization by Peter Robbins and Richard Dolan, among others.

Let's hope that changes. Better yet, let's demand it.

We might also consider the extent hypnotic states may be induced, and the ways vulnerable people may be manipulated. Hypnosis no doubt effects people differently, depending on a lot of factors, but it's a pretty big deal when a case such as Fine's adds to the legal precedence. 

-------------------------------------------------

Recommended:

Hypnosis as a Criminal Defense

Classified Science: The Search for 'Truth That Works'

Hypnosis and Memory, an excerpt from The Greys Have Been Framed

Jeremy Vaeni on David Jacobs and Supporters: 'Time for Some Answers'

Emma Woods Files  

Fake News: Propaganda Specialists Maximize Their Reach

The dissemination of "fake news" and related concerns have been the buzz lately. The term might be loosely defined as misleading stories that are indistinguishable from real news. Facebook was identified as one of the leading platforms to spread fake news, but the problem is widespread and the sources are many. Numerous websites have long been known to publish completely fictitious stories and design their sites to resemble authentic journalism outlets.

Facebook front man Mark Zuckerberg has been under fire due to his moderating policies, or lack thereof, and the heat is probably justified. However, the issues Z-berg and his colleagues face are more complex than simply verifying the content of stories exchanged on their websites and media. As explored in a recent post, the propaganda war is in full force, and those waging it are making no bones about doing so on Facebook, Twitter and similar social media sites in addition to the more traditional venues. 

Such circumstances put site administrators and editors in the positions of not only fact-checking the accuracy of material posted or submitted, but they might also get more than they bargained for when trying to verify accounts and, specifically, those who operate them. It's not just amateur hoaxers or clickbait scams that are littering your time lines. Consider:

WaPo reported in 2006 that hundreds of "news" stories published in Iraqi newspapers were secretly written by U.S. troops. The Lincoln Group, which claimed to have 12 government contracts totaling over $130 million, paid newspapers to print the stories. Rather than term the work psychological operations or propaganda, the president of Lincoln Group preferred to call it spreading "influence," and in spite of the fact the project was contracted by a psyops division of the military. 

- An Associated Press investigation, details of which were published in 2009, indicated the Pentagon would increase its spending by 63 percent, to some $4.7 billion, to win what it called "the human terrain" of world public opinion. It would employ 27,000 people for the effort, which nearly matched the 30,000-person work force of the entire State Department. The massive operation included the Joint Hometown News Service, which in 2009 alone planned to put out 5400 press releases, 3000 television releases, and 1600 radio interviews, among other work, and without informing audiences it was produced by Pentagon staff.

- It's by no means just Americans and their allies who care what you think. Earlier this year, Swedish officials encountered a flood of false stories on social media coinciding with their considerations to enter into a military partnership with NATO. Public appearances were consistently interrupted and sidetracked when officials were questioned on fallacies circulating about how the potential alliance would harm citizens, such as an incorrect claim NATO soldiers would rape Swedish women and not face prosecution. Though the sources of the fake news stories were never conclusively identified, the Kremlin was named as a leading suspect and continues to prioritize the use of "weaponized" information to stir discord and weaken cohesion among nations opposing Russia.

Propaganda and psyops have long been staples of the global intelligence community, but the exploitation of the internet and social media is a relatively new mask in the old charade. The circumstances are complex and have the potential to become more intricate for site admin than simply verifying a corporate account or checking the authenticity of its posts. 

It's not just about whether or not something is true. It's also about who says so, the nature of their relationship with the hosting venue, and the scope of the situation. I would completely expect such circumstances to "influence," as the Lincoln Group put it, the implementation and enforcing of fake news policies on various social media sites.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Facebook, Psy Ops, and 'The UFO Trail' Heads to Roswell

BuzzFeed News reports "renegade" Facebook employees formed a makeshift task force to battle the rampant circulation of fake news among its some 150 million users. The effort apparently includes employees from across the company. They are currently meeting in secret to decrease the possibility of retaliation from senior management, as Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg is downplaying the responsibility his company has in misinforming the public. Meetings are expected to be formalized with a list of recommendations eventually presented to the FB PTB. The task force reportedly includes dozens of employees who claim hundreds of coworkers share their dissatisfaction with the current policies on fake news.

Senior news editor at The Daily Beast, Ben Collins, alerted Twitter users to the inaccuracy and reach of such stories, including the one below:


Numerous websites, such as The UFO Trail, warn readers of the importance of fact-checking information and obtaining it from credible sources. See, for examples, the previous posts UFO Mystery Mongering Uses Satire Sites as News Sources and Put WIT on Your List of Satire Sites, and Somebody Tell Stubblebine and Laibow.   

Fake news sites and hoaxers are certainly part of the problem, but I present for consideration a greater challenge to Mark Zuckerberg, his willingness to effectively moderate his site, and how he will state his policies on the issues: He is fully aware Facebook serves as a psychological warfare tool for the intelligence community, and so is anyone else who has been paying even minimal attention.

In January, 2015, The Guardian reported the British army was creating a special force of "Facebook warriors," skilled in psy ops and the use of social media. The 1500-member unit aimed to join Israel and the United States in engaging "heavily in psychological operations" across social media platforms.

"Against a background of 24-hour news, smart phones and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter," The Guardian explained, "the force will attempt to control the narrative."

It should come as no surprise Zuckerberg expresses reluctance to edit the site of factually incorrect stories. To put it simply, doing so would be in contradiction to its purpose.

The DeLonge DeLusion

Rocker-turned-researcher Tom DeLonge
Writer/researcher Robbie Graham is publishing a series of posts on Tom DeLonge, the intelligence community's involvement in ufology, and related circumstances at Mysterious Universe. Titled The DeLonge DeLusion, we have so far been treated to parts one and two

Graham effectively explores the potential of psychological warfare within the UFO community. He illustrates how circumstances as presented above stand to influence us both individually and collectively, among other relevant points of interest.

Roswell UFO Festival 2017 Conference

I'm very pleased to have accepted an invitation from Guy Malone to speak at a 2017 conference in Roswell. The event is from June 29 to July 2, and the theme is "70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis".

I'm scheduled to do a couple of presentations. The first is titled, The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in Ufology and the Intersection of the Intelligence and UFO Communities. The second will be MKULTRA to Gitmo: Correlations Between State-Sponsored Involuntary Human Experimentation, Hypnosis and the UFO Community.

I hope to see a lot of you there. I'd enjoy connecting with so many of you I only know through Cyber Land. 

Additional speakers include Greg Bishop, Dr. Michael Heiser, Joseph Jordan, Guy Malone, and Nick Redfern. Learn about early bird pricing, the schedule, and the event location, The Hi-Q Venue, by emailing guymalone@roswellufofestival.com.

Last but not least, a big thanks to Jeremy Scott of Into the Parabnormal for having me on his show Saturday night. You can give it a listen, where we discuss topics ranging from UFO sightings to ways the intelligence community's relationship with medical professionals, such as psychologists and hypnotists, influences the private sector.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Classified Science: The Search for 'Truth That Works'

In developments surrounding the intelligence community, Science reports the forming of an "unprecedented" alliance between intel agencies and "the nation's most prestigious scientific body." VIPs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reportedly aim to strengthen national security through the use of what they termed an Intelligence Community Studies Board. It will be made up of top social and behavioral scientists. A two-day summit on the venture was recently held.

DNI James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and staff want to better understand things like when people are lying. Scientists recruited for the project "will help to protect us from armies of snake oil salesmen." Obviously, they're unhappy with results of past attempts to identify deception. 

As a matter of fact, Robert Fein, referred to as "a national security psychologist," described a 2006 ODNI study on interrogation techniques as "disappointing." He should know, he led the projectHow disappointing? He said there were serious flaws and few useful results even after millions of dollars were spent.

"For example," Fein explained, "none of the studies [of deception] involved people who didn't speak English."

I BS you not.

Some scientists expressed concern over the prospect of participating on the board and working with intelligence agencies. Career setbacks are subject to arise due to conspiracy theories resulting from a lack of public trust. Others are no doubt cautious due to the challenges that come with applying their expertise to classified projects in which ethics, competence, adequate peer review and the implementation of the scientific process itself have been called into serious question.    

Additional comment on the board and its purpose was offered to Science by Charles Gaukel of the National Intelligence Council. "We're looking for truth. But we're particularly looking for truth that works," he said.

I still BS you not.

CIA-APA

The two-day summit was conducted in DC, where presenters included doctors with decades of intelligence experience. Researchers, psychologists, behavioral specialists and others whose careers are essentially sponsored by agencies such as the CIA made their case for "looking for truth that works." 

While the forming of the Intelligence Community Studies Board may very well be unprecedented in some way or other, the mingling of spies and psychologists is certainly not. Attempts to perfect interrogation techniques and behavior modification - and extremely questionable tactics - have a dark, well documented history. Perhaps first to come to mind would be Project MKULTRA, its sister operations, and the CIA recruitment of such leading academics and medical experts of the mid-20th century as Martin Orne, Harold WolffGeorge Estabrooks and Ewen Cameron, among many more. The projects are now infamous for their exploitation and abuse of involuntary human research subjects.

Camp Delta of Guantanamo Bay
Much more recent times saw turmoil arise when a partnership was once again struck between the CIA and American Psychological Association (APA). The CIA-APA alignment and the interrogation-related activities it undertook at prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were sharply criticized, and in some instances labeled involuntary human experimentation. The physical and psychological responses of prisoners to torture sessions were monitored, studied, and attempted to be maximized.

International courts ruled CIA "extraordinary rendition" programs were in violation of human rights in Italy, Poland, and Macedonia, among other nations. At least 54 countries were reportedly complicit in allowing operation of CIA secret prisons, or "black sites," where prisoners were indefinitely detained and tortured, often without being charged with crimes. In October, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against two CIA-contracted psychologists, James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, whose consulting company was paid some $81 million to design and facilitate the "enhanced interrogation techniques" employed.

Hypnosis and Implications

The use of hypnosis is one of the many ways the intelligence and UFO communities overlap. In spite of all that leading experts such as Elizabeth Loftus reported on the lack of reliability and even potential damage done by implementing hypnosis as a memory enhancer, the UFO community persists in doing so. Those familiar with the work of so-called investigators of alleged alien abduction are well acquainted with popular reliance on hypnotic regression and its induced mental imagery as literal interpretations of objective reality. 

Similar to Loftus, experimental psychologist and memory expert Julia Shaw reports false memories and resulting confessions are surprisingly simple to create. All it takes, her work shows, is a friendly interview environment, mixing incorrect details with some accurate information, and the use of faulty memory enhancing techniques - and people will "remember" and confess to crimes they never committed.

Are such tactics employed by UFO researchers primarily for the purpose of manufacturing extraordinary tales among susceptible subjects? It could quite likely be the case, at least some of the time. But what about the intelligence community? Is it intentionally inducing false memories and confessions to shape an agenda?

The Hoffman Report is a 500-plus page document on national security interrogations and torture compiled by the law offices of Sidley Austin LLP. It was presented to the APA and included information on the case of Navy Petty Officer Daniel King. He was detained from 1999-2001 under suspicion of spying. King was eventually released without charges, but not before being visited by psychologist Michael Gelles who acted as an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). 

The actions of Gelles were questioned during an APA ethics investigation because he arguably undertook dual and conflicting roles, as both a doctor for King and an asset for NCIS. The psychologist defended his position, explaining he was not serving in two capacities, but "assisting NCIS in determining whether or not Petty Officer King was a proper subject for hypnosis," whatever that's supposed to mean exactly.

APA Ethics Committee liaison Elizabeth Swenson described Gelles' actions with King, who was emotionally overwrought from interrogation techniques and sleep deprivation, as "ethically very marginal." She added Gelles was "misleading" and "omitted information that could have really helped [King] about how false memories can be established and solidified."

Gitmo detainees, 2002
It may be noteworthy Gelles maintained his status with NCIS and was appointed in 2002 to the Criminal Investigations Task Force (CITF), where he was deployed to Afghanistan to train interrogators. He was later sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Prominent psychologist Mel Gravitz served on a "Professional Standards Advisory Committee" for the CIA, where he was employed for many years as a contractor. The memory and hypnosis expert declined requests to meet with authors of the Hoffman Report or answer their questions.

This week Miami Herald reporter and veteran Gitmo journalist Carol Rosenberg sued the Pentagon for information it refused to disclose about $340 million in planned upgrades at the facility. Rosenberg filed an FOIA complaint, citing the dissonance between Obama's statements the base will close and the Department of Defense increased investments. The upgrades reportedly include new construction and staff.

"Despite the shrinking prison population, the Obama Administration's stated intent to close the base, and presidential candidate [Hillary] Clinton's support for closing the base, evidence suggests that the level of staffing at Guantanamo is nearing a historic high," the complaint states.

Whatever one may choose to think about covert interrogation techniques, the induction of false confessions, and the actual purposes behind detaining the so-called "worst of the worst" without charges at Guantanamo, one thing should be easy enough to surmise about hypnosis in UFO investigation: There's no place for it in a sincere search for truth. That is, of course, unless you're only looking for truth that works.