In a recent blog post, Robert Sheaffer, a leading spokesman for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), apparently dismisses the idea that the U.S. government might be using the media to help debunk UFOs. However, those who have actually studied the facts say that the evidence to support the charge is clear and convincing. Anyone wishing to have an informed view about all of this should read the definitive exposé on the subject, journalist Terry Hansen’s The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up, which has just been republished as an e-book.
|By Robert Hastings|
While the CIA’s infiltration of mainstream news organizations, to serve its own purposes, was first divulged during the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee hearings in 1975, and further exposed by The Washington Post’s Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein two years later, Hansen credibly documents decades-long efforts by the intelligence community and the Pentagon to spin or suppress objective media coverage—in both news and entertainment programming—directly relating to the UFO phenomenon.
Significantly, Hansen discusses in detail information suggesting a government infiltration of Sheaffer’s own group by persons whose motives have more to do with disinformation than their publicly-stated skepticism of UFOs. CSI (formerly known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or CSICOP) has a well-established track record of attempting to influence media coverage of the phenomenon, ostensibly for “rational” and “scientific” reasons. Hansen proposes that this is merely a smokescreen and writes:
“CSICOP is an organization of people who oppose what they contend is pseudo-science...CSICOP, contrary to its impressive-sounding title, does not sponsor scientific research. On the contrary, its main function has been to oppose scientific research, especially in areas such as psychic phenomena and UFOs, two topics that, coincidentally or not, have been of demonstrated interest to the U.S. intelligence community over the decades. Instead, CSICOP devotes nearly all of its resources to influencing the American public via the mass media.”
Hansen continues, “CSICOP can accurately be described as a propaganda organization because it does not take anything approaching an objective position regarding UFOs. The organization’s stance is militantly anti-UFO research and it works hard to see that the news media broadcast its views whenever possible. When the subject of UFOs surfaces, either in the news media or any other public forum, CSICOP members turn out rapidly to add their own spin to whatever is being said. Through its ‘Council for Media Integrity’ CSICOP maintains close ties with the editorial staffs of such influential science publications as Scientific American, Nature, and New Scientist. Consequently, it’s not too hard to understand why balanced UFO articles seldom appear in those [magazines].”
He adds, “If the [CIA] had wanted to set up a front organization to debunk the UFO phenomenon, it could have hardly done a better job than to infiltrate CSICOP and encourage its media management activities.”
After Hansen first published his book in 2000, I contacted him regarding my own very interesting and incriminating findings about CSICOP/CSI. I research ongoing UFO incursions at nuclear weapons sites, as confirmed in declassified U.S. government documents and the testimony of military veterans. My September 27, 2010 press conference in Washington D.C., during which seven of those veterans discussed dramatic UFO encounters at ICBM sites and nuclear weapons depots, was streamed live by CNN and the full-length video may be viewed here:
My own exposé of Sheaffer’s “skeptical” organization’s intriguing but almost completely unpublicized links to the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program—as well as behind-the-scenes efforts by leading members of the group to intimidate one former USAF officer who had revealed a still-classified, nukes-related UFO incident—may now be found online as well as in my book UFOs and Nukes.
The Chasing UFOs Disaster
Sheaffer’s aforementioned blog post noted my recent, scathing assessment of the Nat Geo network’s ridiculous Chasing UFOs series, currently airing on Friday evenings. Sheaffer wrote: “...some UFO proponents think that because the show is so bad, it must be a government plot to embarrass UFO researchers! Hard-core UFO proponent Robert Hastings...says that...‘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.’”
Although conveniently not mentioned by Sheaffer, I also wrote, “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 that 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…”
So, intentionally or not, Sheaffer essentially misrepresented my bottom-line take on the motives of those who produce the Chasing UFOs series. Regarding his characterization of me as a “hard-core UFO proponent”, I will first note my surprise at not being called a hard-core UFO “believer”, the derogatory and condescending term typically used by Sheaffer and other members of CSICOP/CSI over the years to describe persons such as myself.
I will also note that other hard-core UFO proponents include the former director of CIA, Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, who told The New York Times, on February 28, 1960, “It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings...Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs, but through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense. To hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.”
(This startling interview is a rare example of candid, objective coverage of the UFO phenomenon in that eminent “newspaper of record”, as it is often touted. But such hype falls flat as regards the Times' treatment of the UFO topic over the years. While its coverage was in fact reasonably objective prior to 1953, the year the CIA’s Robertson Panel secretly recommended that the media be used to debunk UFOs—a fact not publicly known until decades later, when the panel’s report was declassified—it degenerated into nearly universal dismissal and near-contempt thereafter. Interestingly, The New York Times was one of three news organizations named by the Senate’s Church Committee as having been infiltrated by CIA, together with TIME Inc. and the CBS television network.)
physicist Dr. James E. McDonald—who, unlike virtually every member of CSICOP/CSI, actually studied the UFO phenomenon before making pronouncements about it—advocated a renewed scientific examination of the phenomenon decades ago.
After several authorized visits to the U.S. Air Force’s UFO Project Blue Book to review its sighting reports, McDonald told the Tucson Daily Citizen, on March 1, 1967, “There are hundreds of good cases in the Air Force files that should have led to top-level scientific scrutiny of the problem years ago, yet these cases have been swept under the rug in a most disturbing way by Project Blue Book investigators and their consultants.”
In a prepared statement delivered to the U.S. Congress’ House Committee on Science and Astronautics, on July 29, 1968, McDonald said, “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 ‘surveillance.’”
I wonder why we never find anything objectively written about Dr. McDonald’s important research findings or Admiral Hillenkoetter’s candid public statements about UFOs in the pages of CSI’s in-house publication, Skeptical Inquirer magazine, or in the blog posts of the organization’s leading members, including Robert Sheaffer?
To answer my own question, I will paraphrase a comment I made in my Chasing UFOs critique and say that if CSI’s “skeptics” are not actually working for/with the CIA, they are at least making the agency very happy by continually publishing their poorly researched, extremely biased, essentially propagandistic views on the UFO subject.
Continue Reading . . .
Former CIA Director Adm. R.H. Hillenkoetter on UFOs:
“It is Time for the Truth to be Brought Out in Open Congressional Hearings
FOIA Request re CIA UFO Cover-up
Nat Geo’s Chasing UFOs:
Two of the Stars Say the Show was Hijacked
Nat Geo’s Chasing UFOs:
Investigation as Farce
[CHASING UFOs]: "It Reminds Us ... of the Desperate and Shabby State of UFO Inquiry in America ..."
CHASING UFOs: ". . . The Most Paranoid and Absurd Pieces of Supposedly Non-Fiction TV That I Have Ever Seen"
Phoenix Lights Witness Mike Fortson Condemns Nat Geo's Chasing UFOs
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