Friday, February 24, 2012

Saucers in 47: "A Very Highly Classified Experiment"

If, as my Body Snatchers in the Desert book suggests, certain key events in the summer of 1947 - of a perceived flying saucer nature - had far less to do with the actions of aliens and far more to do with matters of a classified, military nature, then it would be reasonable to assume that discussion of such a possibility would have been flying around Washington and the government, and people would have been secretly digging at an official level to try and determine if this was indeed the case.

Although many have said that the government's worries and concerns about UFOs in '47 were provoked by fear of them having definitive alien or Soviet origins, we have prime evidence in our hands that demonstrates the domestic "Secret Weapon" angle was one most definitely discussed - and even accepted - at an official level, as we shall now see...

In early July 1947, Brigadier General George F. Schulgen, Chief of the Requirements Intelligence Branch of Army Air Corps Intelligence, met with Special Agent S.W. Reynolds of the FBI with a view to determining if the Army Air Force could solicit the assistance of the Bureau on a regular basis in its investigation of the flying saucer mystery.

General Schulgen advised Reynolds that, “every effort must be undertaken in order to run down and ascertain whether or not the flying discs are a fact and, if so, to learn all about them.”

The foremost thought on General Schulgen’s mind was that the saucers were man-made in origin. He confided in Special Agent Reynolds that, “the first reported sightings might have been by individuals of Communist sympathies with the view to causing hysteria and fear of a secret weapon.” It was for this reason that the Army Air Force sought the FBI’s assistance.

General Schulgen guaranteed the FBI “all the facilities of [my] office as to results obtained,” and outlined a plan that would involve the FBI in both locating and questioning witnesses to UFO sightings to ascertain whether they were sincere in their statements that they had seen flying saucers, or whether their statements were prompted by personal desire for publicity or political reasons.

Schulgen was careful to advise Reynolds too that: “It has been established that the flying discs are not the result of any Army or Navy experiment.”

Following the meeting between Schulgen and Reynolds, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover instructed his agents to begin investigations into flying saucer sightings in the manner suggested by General Schulgen. As a result of these investigations, on 15 August 1947 the FBI learned of the distinct possibility that the military’s involvement in the flying saucer subject possibly extended beyond that of mere observer.

In a memorandum to Edward A. Tamm, the FBI Assistant Director, D.M. Ladd of the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division wrote the following:

“The Director advised on August 14, 1947, that the Los Angeles papers were carrying headlines indicating that Soviet espionage agents had been instructed to determine the facts relative to the flying discs. The article carried a Washington date line and indicated that Red espionage agents had been ordered to solve the question of the flying discs, the Russians being of the opinion that this might be some new form of defense perfected by the American military. The article further recalled that during the recent war pieces of tin foil had been dropped in the air for the purpose of off-setting the value of radar being used by the enemy forces and that these aluminum discs might be a new development along this line. The Director inquired as to whether the Bureau had any such information."

Suspecting that, if the Russians were snooping around, the saucers had to be American in origin, Special Agent Reynolds of the FBI’s Liaison Section was directed by J. Edgar Hoover to make further inquiries with the Air Force.

On 19 August, 1947, Reynolds met with a Lieutenant Colonel George D. Garrett and the entire secret weapon issue was discussed frankly, as were the possible consequences should the Bureau uncover details of a top-secret, domestic research-and development program.

Following their candid discussion, a remarkable memorandum captioned Flying Discs was prepared by Reynolds for the attention of Hoover. It is this document perhaps more than any other that indicates that the American military was testing flying saucer-type aircraft in the summer of 1947.

“Special Agent S. W. Reynolds of the Liaison Section, while discussing the above captioned phenomena with Lieutenant Colonel Garrett of the Air Forces Intelligence, expressed the possibility that flying discs were, in fact, a very highly classified experiment of the Army or Navy. Mr. Reynolds was very much surprised when Colonel Garrett not only agreed that this was a possibility, but confidentially stated it was his personal opinion that such was a probability. Colonel Garrett indicated that a Mr. [Deleted], who is a scientist attached to the Air Forces Intelligence, was of the same opinion.

"Colonel Garrett stated that he based his assumption on the following: He pointed out that when flying objects were reported seen over Sweden, the ‘high brass’ of the War Department extended tremendous pressure on the Air Forces Intelligence to conduct research and collect information in an effort to identify these sightings. Colonel Garrett stated that, in contrast to this, we have reported sightings of unknown objects over the United States, and the ‘high brass’ appeared to be totally unconcerned. He indicated this led him to believe that they knew enough about these objects to express no concern. Colonel Garrett pointed out further that the objects in question have been seen by many individuals who are what he terms ‘trained observers’ such as airline pilots. He indicated also that several of the individuals are reliable members of the community. He stated that these individuals saw something. He stated the above has led him to the conclusion that there were objects seen which somebody in the Government knows all about.”

Special Agent Reynolds then pointed out to the colonel that if flying saucers did indeed originate with a highly classified domestic project of the military, it was wholly unreasonable for the FBI to be expected to “spend money and precious time conducting inquiries with respect to this matter.”

The colonel duly concurred with Reynolds, and indicated that it would have been extremely embarrassing to Air Force Intelligence if the saucers proved to be American in origin.

Perhaps sensing that he was getting close to uncovering the truth behind the UFO puzzle, Reynolds then made inquiries with the Intelligence Division of the War Department for an opinion on the theory that some shadow government operation was responsible for the many flying-saucer-type objects seen over North America.

The War Department, however, issued a flat denial that it was in any way implicated in the UFO issue. In a report written up later, Reynolds noted that he was given “the assurance of General Chamberlain and General Todd that the Army is conducting no experiments with anything which could possibly be mistaken for a flying disc.”

Nevertheless, the FBI continued to view the subject of flying saucers and the military’s involvement in it with suspicious eyes; and rumors continued to circulate within the higher echelons of the FBI that it was being denied access to the full and unexpurgated facts.

None of this, of course, proves that the flying saucer wave of the summer of 1947 was provoked by a highly classified military program - rather than one of ET origin - but the behind-the-scenes discussions between the likes of Reynolds and Garrett on just such a possibility are, to say the very least, highly intriguing...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Body Snatchers: The Timeline

I was asked recently if I could provide a summarized time-line of the events leading up to, and including, those described in my Body Snatchers in the Desert book. Well, yes, I can!

It goes like this...

During the latter stages of the Second World War, the Japanese military is working to perfect highly advanced balloons as a weapon of war – to the extent that on 4 June 1945, a Japanese military spokesman states that the Fugo balloon launches of the previous few months are merely precursors for something far more dangerous, including large-scale attacks with death-defying Japanese manning the balloons.

The new balloons, American experts estimate, will be at least sixty feet in diameter and will be able to carry a pressurized gondola containing four relatively small men to a height of around 30,000 feet as the balloons travel upon their stratospheric, four-day flights across the Pacific to the United States. Similarly, declassified FBI, CIA, Air Force and British Government memoranda reveals that in the same time frame, the Germans are actively pursuing several new and novel aviation-based projects, including the construction of circular and elliptical shaped aircraft – a number of which are based upon the groundbreaking and revolutionary work of the Horten brothers.

In addition, extensive wartime research is conducted by the Japanese Government’s Unit 731 and by Nazi scientists into the extremely controversial area of human medical experimentation. A large body of that same experimentation is devoted to better understanding the effects of high-altitude exposure on human beings and is undertaken, in part, on physically handicapped individuals.

At the close of hostilities, scientific, aviation and medical experts from Japan and Germany are secretly brought to the United States – via Project Paperclip and its Japanese equivalent – where human experimentation and advanced aircraft research continues unabated and under the strictest security. As President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments notes: At least 1,600 scientists and their dependents were recruited and brought to the United States by Paperclip and its successor projects through the early 1970s.

The ACHRE also notes with respect to the time period in question that a number of potentially important collections could not be located and were evidently lost or destroyed. Similarly, the Committee reveals, a number of those same document collections related to experiments undertaken in the fields of biomedicine, defense and space exploration; and in the great majority of these cases only fragmentary data remained. Where programs were legitimately kept secret for national security reasons, states the Committee, the government often did not create or maintain adequate records, thereby preventing the public, and those most at risk, from learning the facts in a timely and complete fashion.

In the aftermath of the War, a number of military research sites recruit Paperclip scientists with backgrounds in aero-medicine, radiobiology and ophthalmology, including the Air Force’s School of Aviation Medicine, from where experiments into total-body irradiation, space medicine, space biology and flash-blindness are undertaken; and the White Sands Proving Ground becomes home to the V2 rockets developed by – and captured from - Nazi Germany during the War.

In addition, at the same time that the Paperclip personnel are actively being brought to the United States, the Air Force’s Aero Medical Center gives its top priority to the translation of manuscripts providing a complete picture of German aviation medicine.

Further advances are made in the field of aviation in post-war America: on 26 May 1946, the Air Force awards to the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation a contract that establishes Fairchild as the responsible agency of the NEPA nuclear aircraft project; and the Holloman Balloon Branch, Holloman AFB, New Mexico, eventually goes on to become a recognized component of the space-race, via its involvement in the Discoverer program.

Crucially, the National Archives and Records Administration at Maryland makes available a document concerning the early years of research at White Sands and Holloman: Little information is available on specific events with regard to range safety during this period, it reveals. And on 1 July 1947, Major Curtis E. LeMay, Major General, U.S. Army, Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, orders that research into the biological effects of radiation on Japanese individuals should begin.

In the summer of 1947 and against this backdrop of (a) nuclear and biological tests on human subjects; (b) revolutionary aircraft programs; and (c) an influx of senior scientific, medical and aviation experts into the United States from Japan and Germany, a series of events and accidents occur on and near the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico and collectively become known as The Roswell Incident. Witnesses at several crash sites report seeing the remains of unusual-looking aircraft and small bodies, some with enlarged, bald heads and Asian or Oriental-like features.

On 19 August 1947, FBI Special Agent S. W. Reynolds informs Bureau director, J. Edgar Hoover, that in a meeting with an Air Force colonel, the colonel expresses his firm belief that, the flying discs originate with a highly classified experiment of the Army or Navy.

In the immediate wake of the Roswell affair, Dr. Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico – and a wartime expert on the Fugo balloons – becomes deeply embroiled in the Roswell controversy; the ramifications of the Nuremberg Code begin to reverberate and rumble within the United States; and, as the 3 November 1947 issue of the Biology Division Bulletin of the Clinton National Laboratory reveals, staff at Oak Ridge (home of the nuclear aircraft program) take an active interest in experimentation undertaken to determine the effect of radioactive iodine on dwarfs and those afflicted with Progeria - a syndrome that results in a small stature, an enlarged, bald-head and on occasion extra fingers and toes.

In official FBI memoranda, Colonel Clyde D. Gasser, Air Material Command, U.S. Army and the principal army technician at the NEPA project at Oak Ridge, discusses with the FBI his theories linking flying saucers with nuclear aircraft research; and on 4 October 1949, the NEPA Medical Advisory Committee concludes that, with regard to the nuclear aircraft program, live, human experimentation is the number one priority.

During the same time, an official report of the Air Force’s UFO investigative unit, Project Grudge, recommends that the military’s psychological warfare personnel should be apprised of the results of the Grudge study. Notable is the Department of Defense’s official definition of psychological warfare: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.”

In the same time frame that the military, the Psychological Strategy Board and the CIA are looking at the ways in which the flying saucer mystery can be used as a tool of psychological warfare, Brigadier General W.M. Garland, USAF, informs General John Samford, Air Force Director of Intelligence, that it is logical to assume that some reported flying saucer sightings could conceivably be related to the development of aircraft borne out of the work of the Horten brothers.

Operation Klondike is initiated and employs the use of a crashed UFO cover story for the transfer of Hungarian treasures, including the crown of St. Stephen; and in 1955 Dr. Willard Libby of the Atomic Energy Committee’s Project Sunshine states that accessing human samples is of prime importance and if anyone knows how to do a good job of body-snatching, they will really be serving their country.

From wartime Japan to Operation Sunshine, that, pretty much, is the controversial timeline of events...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Range Safety, Roswell, and "Little Information"

During the course of doing the research for my Body Snatchers in the Desert book, I spent a lot of time at the National Archives, digging into files to determine what was going on at various New Mexico-based military installations during the summer of 1947.

One of the files that I considered of potential interest - and which I still consider to be of potential interest - originated with Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico and was titled Holloman Air Force Base Range Safety, 1947-1959.

Prepared in 1960, it makes a number of intriguing statements:

"The handling of range safety problems at the Air Force Missile Development Center, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, has passed through three distinct phases. From the establishment of the Air Forces guided missile program at Holloman until the integration of the Holloman and White Sands Proving Ground test range in September 1952, Holloman was responsible for safety aspects of all its tests, including rocketsonde and balloon flights and research and development drone tests as well as missile tests in the narrow sense. Naturally there were many occasions for close coordination between the Air Forces at Holloman and the Army at White Sands on range safety criteria and procedures, for instance when the flight pattern of a missile took it over both of the adjoining test ranges."

Notably, and crucially, the document also states: "Little information is available on specific events with regard to range safety during this period."

Needless to say, if, as this document demonstrates, by 1960 Holloman's own historians had "little" access to the history of the early years of research and safety issues at Holloman and its links with activities undertaken at White Sands (both in New Mexico), then the idea that such a monumental story as the Roswell affair could remain successfully buried for decades seems not so unusual after all.

SOURCE: Holloman Air Force Base Range Safety, 1947-1959, Holloman Air Force Base, 1960.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Bizarre biological experiments..."

In the early 1990s, the UFO researcher Timothy Cooper spoke with a certain Albert Collins, who, in the early-to-mid 1940s, worked for Berkeley and at Occidental College on the Manhattan Project, the one project more than any other that proved instrumental in determining the outcome of the Second World War when atomic bombs destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Albert Bruce Collins was born on 12 May 1912, in New York and died on 31 December 1990, from coronary disease. He graduated from Occidental College in 1942 and worked initially at Berkeley, California, and later at the University of Chicago.

According to his obituary published in the 10 January 1991 edition of The Grizzly, Collins was known as the "watchdog" of Big Bear Valley, California.

Cooper said that, according to Collins's words, in the 1940s: "...New Mexico was abuzz with unusual research into nuclear powered aircraft and bizarre biological experiments. Some people were losing their clearances for no apparent reasons. All I know is that the scary feelings everybody had who was asked to do experiments on stuff that nobody ever saw before and how we were later threatened if we talked about anything we saw, felt or heard."

One of the rumors that Collins was acutely aware of centered around "autopsies of midget people with mongoloid heads that were accidentally exposed to high doses of radiation at Los Alamos."

Just another chapter in the saga of Roswell as it - maybe - relates to diabolical experimentation on human-beings...

UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum, Lenoard H. Stringfield, published privately, July 1991.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Yep: Those Bodies Again...

One person who was – initially, at least - very vocal on the issue of whether or not some form of secret terrestrial device came to grief at Roswell was a former employee of the CIA, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and who later became the Special Assistant for Defense, Space and Science and Technology in the House of Representatives - the late Karl Pflock (pictured here when we met for the first time in Aztec, New Mexico in 2003).

Commenting in 1994 on the allegations that alien bodies were recovered in the New Mexico area as part of the so-called Roswell incident, Pflock was willing, at the time, to conclude that there were indeed "human-like but strangely disfigured bodies" recovered in the New Mexico desert in 1947; and that those same bodies were "associated with some very unusual wreckage."

However, Pflock, too, was careful to point out that: "Even if there were bodies - and I believe there were - they may not have been of unearthly origin. In which case, Roswell turns out to be a significant chapter in early Cold War history, akin to the currently unfolding disclosures about the U.S. government radiation experiments spawned in the same era."

It's very important to note that Pflock later changed his opinion, quite radically, and became a champion of the theory that what was recovered at Roswell was nothing more extraordinary than a Mogul balloon; yet it is interesting that his initial thoughts veered towards the possibility of an event connected to "U.S. government radiation experiments."

This issue of "government experiments" was something that had also been noted by Tim Cooper - he of "MJ12 Documents" fame, and now someone pretty much out of the UFO field.

In a 1991 "status report" titled UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum, the late Leonard Stringfield referenced a curious and controversial conversation Cooper had with a former nurse stationed at what is now the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico.

In Cooper's own words:

"She casually mentioned to me over coffee that 'bodies' were being flown to Los Alamos periodically from late 1945 to sometime in 1947. I asked her if she had seen these 'bodies and she said no, but others had. I asked her where these 'bodies' were coming from. She said she did not know but it was rumored that they were human experiments for biological and nuclear medicine research. She thought they may have come from Japan after the war. She said they were small bodies with deformed heads and limbs. The eyes were abnormally big she was told. She said they were being flown in on special transport planes equipped with refrigerator units to keep the bodies from decomposing."

I now have the alleged name of the nurse (Cooper called her "Mary," but her supposed real first name is slightly, but not markedly, different, and she is said to share a last name with a famous aviator...), so we'll see what - if anything - comes from trying to contact her. If, even, she's still alive...

SOURCES: Roswell In Perspective, Karl Pflock, Fund for UFO Research, 1994.

UFO Crash/Retrievals: The Inner Sanctum, Lenoard H. Stringfield, published privately, July 1991.