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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Jan > Jan 10

San Francisco Chronicle On Firmage

From: Stig Agermose <Stig_Agermose@online.pol.dk>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 05:16:12 +0100 (MET)
Fwd Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 00:20:09 -0500
Subject: San Francisco Chronicle On Firmage


[List only]

Source: San Francisco Chronicle. URL for this printer-friendly
version,

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=3D/chronicl
e/archive/1999/01/09/MN19158.DTL&type=3Dprintable

Stig

***

CEO Quits Job Over UFO Views

Advances in technology a gift of aliens, Silicon
Valley pioneer believes

Jon Swartz, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, January 9, 1999
=A91998 San Francisco Chronicle

URL:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=3D/chron
icle/archive/1999/01/09/MN19158.DTL

*

Joe Firmage -- the Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley -- resigned
yesterday from the firm he founded so he could promote his
belief that many of today's high-tech advancements, including
semiconductors, fiber optics and lasers, came from aliens.

Firmage is the 28-year-old founder of USWeb, a high-profile
Internet consulting firm that merged recently with the Net
marketing firm CKS to form a 1,950-person public company worth
$2.1 billion. Clients of Santa Clara-based USWeb/CKS include
Apple Computer, Levi Strauss and Harley-Davidson.

In November, shortly before the merger, Firmage was pressured to
step down as CEO of USWeb and take the lesser title of chief
strategist because of his campaign to prove the existence of
UFOs.

Yesterday, Firmage said he resigned as chief strategist because
he believed that continuing publicity, including this article,
would damage the company's reputation.

"I want to ensure the company is not impacted in any negative
way," Firmage said. "I do not want to put myself in a position
of compromising its day-to-day perception. I was not pressured"
to resign.

Robert Shaw, CEO of USWeb/CKS, said, "Given the market exposure
associated with his outside interests, Joe suggested that we
would all be better served if he didn't have an official role
with the company. Joe is a visionary and he should be quite
proud of what he accomplished. This move should demonstrate to
the public and the employees that he's always put the interests
of the company first."

Firmage said he is willing to risk his career to further
publicize his theories, one of which is that many high-tech
advancements can be traced to a purported alien spaceship crash
in Roswell, N.M., in 1947.

According to Firmage, government officials recovered materials
from the spacecraft and reverse-engineered them to develop many
of today's high-tech breakthroughs.

Like Mulder, the intrepid, erudite government agent on "The X-
Files," Firmage also believes that the truth is being covered up
by the military-industrial complex.

Firmage has published his many ideas in a 600-page manifesto,
titled "The Truth," on his Web site (www.thewordistruth.org).
"This is certainly the most important news event in 2,000
years," he said.

Firmage said his theories grew out of a year's worth of research
on government documents and an alleged personal encounter with
an other-worldly being.

In a chapter from his manifesto, titled "My Contact," Firmage
recounts an incident that he said occurred one morning at his
Los Gatos home, shortly before USWeb went public in 1997.

"A remarkable being, clothed in brilliant white light, appeared
hovering over my bed in my room," Firmage writes.

"He looked rather annoyed, and asked: 'Why have you called me
here?'

"I answered with a moment's pause: 'I want to travel in space.'
This was always my lifelong dream, and it naturally came out in
a state of semi-waking thought.

"He chuckled skeptically, paused, and asked: 'Why should you be
granted such an opportunity?'

"I responded without hesitation, in the only way I could have
responded given my life to that time: 'Because I'm willing to
die for it!' "

Nothing in Firmage's background would suggest any out-of-
the-ordinary beliefs. Clean-cut, polite and articulate, he was
raised in a modest Salt Lake City home and attended the
University of Utah as a physics major. Although fascinated by
science fiction as a teenager, he also described himself as "a
skeptical scientist."

By the age of 18, he had founded his first company, Serius, a
pioneer in object-oriented programming tools. That company was
sold to Novell in 1993 for $24 million, and Firmage became
Novell's vice president of networking strategy until 1995. He
co-founded USWeb in December 1995.

Firmage's online book contends that extraterrestrials, or
"teachers," have randomly appeared on Earth for several thousand
years to "nudge" human beings toward radical scientific
advancements.

The Web site also contains about 100 pages of new documents from
a source Firmage calls the "Deep Throat of Cyberspace."

One of the documents is a purported 1947 memo from President
Harry S. Truman to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal that
sets up a top-secret U.S. government operation called "Majestic
Twelve" to investigate extraterrestrials. Subsequent documents
tacitly acknowledge a series of spaceship crashes from 1947 to
1953.

In addition, the site includes an alleged June 1947 letter from
Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer to high-tech visionary
Vannevar Bush dishing up advice on how scientists should handle
aliens, and a Nov. 12, 1963, note from President John F. Kennedy
to a CIA operative about "UFO intelligence files." Kennedy was
assassinated 10 days later in Dallas.

Dr. Robert Wood, a retired aerospace engineer and longtime
McDonnell Douglas executive living in Newport Beach, said he has
studied the controversial documents and believes that they are
real.

Many Silicon Valley scientists and historians scoff at Firmage's
beliefs.

"It's a joke; if not, then I must be an alien," chortled
Narinder Kapany, the Woodside resident who is credited with
inventing fiber optics.

"I've met a bunch of the valley's pioneers, and none of them I
know are aliens," said John McLaughlin, co-author of "The Making
of Silicon Valley: A One Hundred Year Renaissance" and president
of the Santa Clara Valley Historical Association. "The valley
was built on ingenuity and hard work."

Firmage insists that he is not trying to cash in on the enduring
UFO craze. Rather, he has sunk more than $3 million into
establishing Project Kairos (after an ancient Greek word meaning
"the right or opportune moment") to prepare mankind for aliens.

He also has bought ads in Rolling Stone, the Wall Street
Journal, the Economist and other print and online publications
to publicize his book.

"There is no money to be made -- just to be lost," he said.

Firmage is well aware of a far greater potential loss -- his
credibility.

"Why would a young, successful CEO risk his reputation on
something this fantastic?" he asked. "Because I believe so much
in this theory. And I am in a unique position to communicate an
extremely important message. I have the money, credibility,
scientific grounding and faith."

Nonetheless, he said, competitors have attempted to exploit his
fantastical theories. "Our competitors were highlighting this to
the media and calling Joe a crackpot," USWeb/CKS board member
Gary Rieschel was quoted as saying in one computer trade
publication.

Firmage's situation is eerily similar to a recent plot in the TV
show "Ally McBeal," in which a respected stockbroker is fired
from his job after claiming to have seen a unicorn. The broker
is reinstated after a judge rules that his beliefs do not
interfere with his job performance.

The tightly knit UFO community is dramatically split over
Firmage's book.

"What he has pulled together is quite impressive. I don't know
if it's true, but it's worth thinking about," said Bernard
Haisch, 49, an astrophysicist and editor of the Journal of
Scientific Exploration (www.jse.com).

This summer, the society sponsored the first independent review
of UFO phenomena since 1970. Its conclusion: Some UFO sightings
deserve further scientific study.

Firmage's critics, however, contend that he is misguided.

"Roswell has repeatedly been discounted as nothing more than a
military experiment," said Frank Drake, president of SETI
Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), the
Mountain View organization made famous by Jodie Foster in the
movie "Contact." SETI is partly financed by leading high- tech
figures such as Microsoft co- founder Paul Allen,
Hewlett-Packard co-founders William Hewlett and the late David
Packard, and Intel co-founder Gordon Moore.

"It is constantly exploited by obsessive types who want to
believe. If it's not Santa Claus, then it's aliens," said Drake.

Firmage said he has great respect for Drake, but "if he had the
same information that I have, I don't believe he would reach his
conclusion.

"It's the Flat-Earth society mentality all over again, and I'm
here to prove my theory is real," he said.

=A91998 San Francisco Chronicle  Page A1  



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