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Investigation As Farce Nat Geo's Chasing UFOs

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 05:44:49 -0400
Archived: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 05:44:49 -0400
Subject: Investigation As Farce Nat Geo's Chasing UFOs

Source: Rank Warren's The UFO Chronicles



Nat Geo's Chasing UFOs: Investigation As Farce

By Robert Hastings

Despite countless claims to the contrary by debunkers, there
really is persuasive evidence - both empirical and anecdotal - to
confirm the anomalous nature of the UFO phenomenon. Admittedly,
one would never know that by watching the Nat Geo network's new
reality series Chasing UFOs, whose entertainment-based formula
may best be described as Blair Witch Project meets Inspector
Clouseau. If the show's producers are not secretly in cahoots
with some intelligence agency to make legitimate UFO research
look bad, by association, they have certainly achieved that
outcome inadvertently.

But before I further discuss this farce, let's look at the other
end of the spectrum. One of the very few scientists to have
studied the UFO phenomenon, the late physicist James E.
McDonald, repeatedly urged other scientists and the public at
large to refrain from uninformed and biased assumptions about
UFOs and, instead, investigate the facts:

"One of the principal results of my own recent intensive study
of the UFO enigma is this: I have become convinced that the
scientific community, not only in this country but throughout
the world, has been casually ignoring as nonsense a matter of
extraordinary scientific importance."

Dr. James E. McDonald
Senior Physicist
Institute of Atmospheric Physics
University of Arizona

"As a result of several trips to [the U.S. Air Force's UFO]
Project Blue Book, I've had an opportunity to examine quite
carefully and in detail the types of reports that are made by
Blue Book personnel=85There are hundreds of good cases in the Air
Force files that should have led to top-level scientific
scrutiny of [UFOs] years ago, yet these cases have been swept
under the rug in a most disturbing way by Project Blue Book
investigators and their consultants."

Dr. James E. McDonald
Tucson Daily Citizen
March 1, 1967

"My own present opinion, based on two years of careful study, is
that UFOs are probably extraterrestrial devices engaged in
something that might very tentatively be termed =91surveillance.'"

Dr. James E. McDonald
Testimony before Congress
July 29, 1968

On June 22, 2012, I delivered a short presentation at the
Society for Scientific Exploration's 31st annual conference in
Boulder, Colorado, titled "Unexplained Aerial Incursions at
Nuclear Weapons Sites Demand a Renewed Scientific Interest in
the UFO Phenomenon", which examined declassified U.S. government
documents confirming ongoing UFO activity at American nukes-
related facilities since 1948.

Those documents, coupled with the testimony of U.S. military
veterans - I have interviewed more than 130 since 1973 - establish
beyond a reasonable doubt the reality of UFO incidents at
nuclear missile launch sites, nukes storage depots, fissile
material production plants, and weapons test ranges. Seven of
those veterans participated in my September 27, 2010 press
conference in Washington D.C., which CNN streamed live:

In the video, one may watch former U.S. Air Force ICBM launch
and targeting officers discussing incidents during which large
numbers of Minuteman missiles simultaneously malfunctioned, just
as security personnel were reporting glowing, disc-shaped craft
hovering near them. Furthermore, other Air Force veterans,
interviewed for my book UFOs and Nukes, unequivocally confirm a
UFO-involvement in other missile-shutdown incidents at various
USAF bases over the years.

If this were not enough, declassified Soviet government
documents and the testimony ex-Soviet Army personnel - which
became available after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in
1991 - confirm that ongoing UFO activity, including missile
tampering, was also occurring at nuclear weapons sites in that
country during the Cold War era.

In short, the documents and witness statements - from both sides
of the ocean - collectively confirm that an as-yet unidentified
third party, possessing technology vastly superior to that
utilized by the U.S. and U.S.S.R., monitored and occasionally
disrupted the superpowers' nukes with impunity for decades.

While this information can not be considered scientific data per
se, it nevertheless begs for scientific scrutiny - not arbitrary,
smug dismissal by those who consider an investigation of UFOs to
be beneath their dignity. As Dr. McDonald said, "There are
hundreds of good cases in the Air Force files that should have
led to top-level scientific scrutiny of [UFOs] years ago."

In other words, although the military cases in and of themselves
do not scientifically establish the reality of UFOs, they are
certainly credible enough to warrant serious, unbiased study of
the phenomenon by physicists, astronomers, and others in

5% Fact, 95% Fluff

Unfortunately, any scientist - or lay UFO skeptic - who watched one
or more of the utterly embarrassing Chasing UFOs episodes that
recently aired on the Nat Geo channel, will now be even more
convinced that the phenomenon is bunk and those who
"investigate" the subject are clueless clowns.

Notable, on-target reviews of the programs' format and content,
by television critics and others, include the following:

TV Skeptic: 'Chasing UFOs' too much Mulder not enough Scully

Chasing UFOs - The Review

I have no idea what I saw

A few excerpts:

"Chasing UFOs can be boiled down to one word: Childish."

"The series, which claims to use science to investigate reports
of sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), is the
latest entry in a genre of unscripted TV that follows a formula
that can be best described as: Easily frightened people
searching in the dark for things that frighten them and getting
frightened on camera."

"The core of the show is three adults play-acting out spooky
adventures in a manner similar to how children might play cops
and robbers=85"

"The idea seems to be that should anyone encounter an actual UFO
(Bigfoot, ghost, alien, etc.), it's more important to record the
face of the investigator as they see the paranormal event,
rather than to record the event itself."

"Our team goes searching for soil samples and bits of residue,
or debris, or radiation - at night."

"I can't really see how running around in the dark poorly
imitating the idea of geological or archaeological research is
public educational outreach."

You get the idea. Sad to say, one of those chasing UFOs on the
program, filmmaker James Fox, has an established track record of
credibly presenting civilian and military sighting reports, in
his two excellent documentaries, Out of the Blue and I Know What
I Saw, which I have promoted for years during my lectures at
colleges and universities.

In October 2011, Fox approached me and former USAF Captain
Robert Salas - who co-sponsored the "UFOs and Nukes" press
conference mentioned above - and asked us to participate in some
unspecified UFO "documentary" being produced by Nat Geo. Salas
and I immediately declined, as we were painfully aware of the
network's long track record of generally debunking the
phenomenon. Indeed, over the years I had told several people,
only half-jokingly, that if the Nat Geo scripts were not
actually written at CIA headquarters, the network was at least
making the agency very happy by broadcasting its poorly
researched, extremely biased, essentially propagandistic shows
on the UFO subject.

The most recent example, The Truth Behind UFOs: Popped, was
aired by the network the night before the premier of Chasing
UFOs, and claimed that half of all UFO sightings in the United
States during the late 1950s and throughout the =9160s were due to
test flights of the then still-classified U-2 and SR-71 spy
planes. This absurd opinion was first publicly touted by the CIA
itself, in 1994, after a supposedly comprehensive review of the
agency's interest in UFOs by its in-house historian, Gerald K.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the facts knows that
thousands - if not tens of thousands - of UFO sightings by Americans
during that era involved observations of disc, cigar, spherical
and triangular-shaped craft, often hovering at low altitude,
that could not possibly be explained away as ultra-secret
surveillance aircraft, which flew at extremely high altitudes
and, despite their advanced technology, could not hang
stationary in the sky. Only a fraction of those bona fide UFO
sightings were reported to the U.S. Air Force's Project Blue
Book; a great many more were featured in newspapers, magazines
and on local radio and television broadcasts.

Did sightings of the U-2 and SR-71 also number in the many
thousands and, therefore, conceivably account for 50% of all UFO
reports during those years, as CIA officials claimed? No, of
course not, but when the Haines report was published, the agency
was obviously counting on the much more influential national
media's pervasive sloth and customary disinterest toward
investigating the UFO phenomenon and, consequently, knew that it
could get away with such tripe because almost no one in the
elite journalism crowd would double-check the facts. So, score a
win for those who think that we should all be kept in the dark
on the UFO topic indefinitely.

(An excellent overview of this situation, journalist Terry
Hansen's book The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the
UFO Cover-up, has just been republished as an e-book and is
available at Amazon. It has long been on my personal list of
must-reads for anyone wishing to learn how the reality of the
UFO phenomenon could have been so successfully suppressed for

Interestingly, CIA higher-ups forgot to give their historian
Haines access to files relating to the agency's confiscation of
important UFO evidence - films and radar tapes - pertaining to the
nukes-related Big Sur Incident and the Alaskan UFO
Encounter - when he was compiling his allegedly comprehensive
history of the CIA's interest in UFOs. These two cases of
evidence-suppression by the agency were divulged by retired USAF
Major Florenze Mansmann and retired FAA Administrator John
Callahan, respectively.

For whatever reason, Nat Geo's The Truth Behind UFOs: Popped
slavishly follows the CIA's party line, claiming that sightings
of secret spy planes, coupled with Cold War-era hysteria, had
caused millions of Americans to imagine that they were seeing
disc-shaped craft in the sky on a semi-regular basis.

Of course, if one looks beyond this blatant smoke screen and
actually reviews even a small cross-section of declassified UFO
documents, one will find CIA, FBI and U.S. Air Force reports
concerning ongoing UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites,
numerous radar trackings of the objects - as they flew at speeds
and performed maneuvers far beyond the capability of any manmade
aircraft - and unsuccessful intercept attempts of the unknown
intruders by military jet fighters, to mention but a few of the
topics covered in the now-public but still largely-unread files.

To date, millions of Americans who incessantly blog about UFOs,
from whatever point-of-view, have not spent even one day
reviewing the dramatic disclosures contained in these files,
even though they are easily accessible on the Internet.

Hooray, another win for the intelligence community UFO censors
and their counterparts at the Pentagon, who badly want to keep
us all ignorant of the facts!

During a recent radio interview I was asked, in effect, whether
I thought that Chasing UFOs was a CIA ploy, considering how
dreadful it is and how it will undoubtedly impact, in a very
negative manner, public and scientific perceptions about the
legitimacy of studying the phenomenon.

My answer was, basically, "Who knows?" I then said it was more
likely that the show's producers were merely doing a job,
pumping out product, and hoping to capitalize on the popularity
of another mostly-abysmal "reality" series on the History
Channel, UFO Hunters. The dumbing-down of ufological research,
as presented on TV, certainly can not be laid on Nat Geo's
doorstep alone. (Don't get me started on the other "UFO
documentary" series currently appearing on the History-2
channel, Ancient Aliens. That travesty makes Chasing UFOs seem
scholarly by comparison.)

In the first Chasing UFOs episode, our intrepid trio of
"investigators" (Fox, Erin Ryder, Ben McGee) focused on the many
sighting reports made by folks living in and near Stephenville,
Texas, in January 2008. While the show's town hall meeting
segment - during which the witnesses discussed their
observations - was valid, did the program's producers ever
consider including a mention of the far more convincing FAA
radar data, forcibly released via the Freedom of Information
Act? Those confirm the presence of multiple, unknown objects
during the same period of time that some of the sightings
occurred. Radar data, which are empirical, not anecdotal in
nature, would have convincingly reinforced the reality of the
accounts being discussed at the public meeting.

A recently-published animated display of those radar data is now
available, thanks to British programmer Rob Freeman:

This oversight is but one example of Chasing UFOs' misplaced
focus and apparent obliviousness regarding missed opportunities.
During the same town hall segment, one person presented a video
that he had recorded during the midst of the sighting wave,
showing a string of lights in the sky. Did the program's
producers devote even one minute to a technical analysis of the
footage? No, of course not. During other segments in the same
episode, two different videos of UFOs were also presented.
Rather than spending any time on analyzing those, the producers
chose to cut back to the faces of the chasers as they watched
the tapes, to record their wonder and/or fear.

This article would have to be several pages longer if I were to
summarize all of the breathless hoo-ha passed off as
investigation and analysis by the show - in just the first three
episodes. (Dear God, there are five more waiting in the wings!)

I like James Fox and respect his earlier, valuable work on the
UFO topic. If I seem to him too harsh in my assessment of his
current caper, perhaps he will at least briefly consider the
merits of my criticism and give more thought to his future
projects. It will come as no surprise to him that most of the
leading ufologists, who are our mutual acquaintances, consider
Chasing UFOs an unfortunate development, to say the least.
Hopefully, it represents only a temporary departure from James'
otherwise respected work.


[Thanks to Robert Hastings for the lead]

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