Tuesday, January 04, 2011

UK UFO Debunker Strikes Again

UFO Debunker's Giudebook

Will Dr. David Clarke Ever Get Anything Right?

By Robert Hastings

Robert Hastings     The new issue of Fortean Times features a short article written by Dr. David Clarke titled, “Alien Missile Meddlers”, in which the British debunker pooh-poohs the validity of information confirming ongoing UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites—including that presented by six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man at my press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. last September.

Prior to the widely-publicized event, Clarke had attempted to discredit one of the participants, retired Col. Charles Halt, the former deputy base commander of RAF Bentwaters, a now-closed Anglo-American airbase in Suffolk, England. Upon retiring from military service in 1991, Halt told the media that he had once witnessed a disc-shaped UFO hovering over Bentwaters as it sent down laser-like beams of light into the nuclear Weapons Storage Area (WSA). Although Halt was some distance away at the time, investigating reports of mysterious lights in nearby Rendlesham Forest, he confirmed hearing radio chatter from guards at the WSA, who frantically reported that some of the beams had landed there. (A virtually identical incident occurred at a Soviet nuclear missile base, Kapustin Yar, in July 1989, according to declassified KGB docments.)

My earlier retort to Clarke’s inaccurate and deceptive comments about Bentwaters may be found here:

UFO-Spin in the UK Hastings’ Response to Clarke—Part I

UFO-Spin in the UK Hastings’ Response to Clarke—Part Two

Additional commentary about the Kapustin Yar case, as well as a link to the Soviet documents, may be found here:

The Rendlesham/Bentwaters UFO Case Had a Nuclear Weapons Connection

The second article also references documented UFO incursions at other U.S. Air Force WSAs, between 1975 and 1981, demonstrating that the Bentwaters incident, in December 1980, was only one of several such cases during that era.

In his most recent article post regarding UFOs and nukes, Clarke repeats his earlier fictions about Bentwaters and then goes even further, taking on any former military witness who dares report that UFOs are monitoring and sometimes tampering with our nuclear weapons. Below are a few of his comments (DC) interspersed with my responses (RH):

DC: Aliens have been buzzing our nuclear bases since the end of World War II and Western governments have been lying to us about the threat to our missiles. It must be true because upstanding, dry former military chiefs who were trusted with our nuclear security say so! But the real source of this ripping yarn is American ufologist Robert Hastings, who is obsessed with proving a link between UFOs and nukes, in just the same way that other independent thinkers have tried to persuade us that aliens are coming here to follow ley lines or collect water from our reservoirs.

RH responds: So, Dr. Clarke, I alone am the source of this “ripping yarn”? Your charge is a complete fabrication, and a rather shocking one, from someone who claims to adhere to journalistic principles.

Actually, if one views a video of my September 27, 2010 press conference in Washington D.C., one will find a number of former or retired U.S. Air Force officers speaking of their own accord, with no assistance whatsoever from me. Moreover, their reports of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites are only the tip of the iceberg. Over past 37 years I have interviewed more than 120 such persons—whom the U.S. government once vetted to operate or guard Weapons of Mass Destruction—who describe ongoing UFO incursions at missile launch sites, weapons storage depots, or nuclear test sites. According to some of these veterans, during a few of these incidents, missiles malfunctioned just as one or more disc-shaped UFOs hovered above them.

Therefore, while I did indeed coordinate the press conference—together with former USAF Captain Robert Salas—I merely provided a forum for a small number of these knowledgeable insiders to reveal their still-classified experiences to the media and, by extension, the public worldwide.

DC: The idea that aliens are coming here to warn us about our nuclear experiments is nothing new either. It was a favourite theme of contactees such as George King during the 1950s...

RH responds: Yes, Dr. Clarke, the easily-discredited contactee movement of the 1950s did indeed embrace the idea of ETs coming to Earth to warn humans about the dangers of nuclear weapons. However, during the same time-frame, behind the scenes, the U.S. military was dealing with the very real problem of UFO incursions at nukes-related sites, as documents declassified in the 1970s confirm.

UFOs at Nuclear Missile Sites State CIA Documents
But the first indication of the reality of situation actually came decades earlier. After leaving military service, the first chief of the U.S. Air Force’s UFO Project Blue Book, former Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, explicitly discussed a nuclear weapons connection with UFO activity in his 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.

UFOs Over Los AlamosRuppelt wrote, “UFOs were seen more frequently around areas vital to the defense of the United States. The Los Alamos-Albuquerque area, Oak Ridge, and White Sands Proving Ground rated high.”1

Each of these locations was directly or indirectly involved in America’s nuclear weapons program: The Los Alamos Laboratory, in northern New Mexico, conducted theoretical research and designed the bombs. In nearby Albuquerque, Sandia Laboratory engineered those weapons, which were then transported to the adjacent Manzano Base, an underground storage facility. At Kirtland Air Force Base, located just west of Manzano, the nukes were loaded onto strategic bombers and cargo aircraft and flown to test sites in Nevada and the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, as well as to military bases throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska, then not yet a state.

UFOs Affect Radar at OakRidgeMeanwhile, at the Oak Ridge facility, in Tennessee, reactors feverishly produced weapons-grade uranium and plutonium for an ever-expanding nuclear arsenal. (Oak Ridge had also played an essential role in the World War II-era Manhattan Project, by providing the uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.) Various declassified FBI and Air Force memoranda note no fewer than 14 separate UFO sightings at Oak Ridge during the period from October 12 to December 20, 1950. The tally was based on reports provided by various governmental security officers at the installation, as well as military pilots and radar personnel.2

At the third UFO sighting hot-spot mentioned by Ruppelt, White Sands Proving Ground, in southern New Mexico, the military was engaged in ongoing tests of the rudimentary rockets which would, within a decade, evolve into highly accurate, intercontinental delivery systems for U.S. nuclear warheads (as well as the boosters NASA would use to take its first, tentative steps into space).

Elsewhere in his book, Ruppelt noted that UFOs had also demonstrated a distinct interest in two another plutonium production facilities, the Hanford and Savannah River plants. Regarding the latter, he wrote, “Many of the [sighting] reports came from people in the vicinity of the then new super-hush-hush AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) facility at Savannah River, Georgia.”3 The fissile materials plant became operational in 1952, and would for the next 40 years produce much of the plutonium and tritium used in America’s nuclear weapons.

But Air Force and FBI investigators were not the only members the U.S. government worried by these developments. At least one high-level CIA analyst also expressed concern over UFO sightings at sensitive government installations. On December 2, 1952, Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell, Assistant Director of the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence, wrote a Secret memorandum to CIA Director Walter B. Smith, titled, “Unidentified Flying Objects.” The memo noted repeated UFO sightings at important, but unspecified U.S. “defense” sites and stated, “At this time, the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention...Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles.”4

While Chadwell did not identify the “major” defense sites at which the sightings had occurred, it is almost certain that he was referring to the plants at which nuclear weapons materials were being produced. According to other declassified documents, within the previous seven months UFOs had been reported by military personnel or civilians near Oak Ridge, Savannah River and Hanford. (Another military UFO sighting and radar tracking occurred at the Hanford plant eight days after Chadwell wrote his memorandum.)

Dr. Chadwell concluded his memo to the CIA director by stating, “Attached hereto is a draft memorandum to the NSC (National Security Council) and a simple draft NSC Directive establishing this matter as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community.”5

UFOs and Nukes By Robert HastingsSo, Dr. Clarke, while the flying saucer contactee movement of the 1950s did indeed prattle on naively about “our space brothers” coming to rescue humankind from its nuclear-armed folly, their claims actually echoed a real and highly-classified situation. While the underlying reasons for ongoing UFO incursions at nuclear weapons sites—as recently as December 2010, near F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming—remain unknown (as I clearly say in my book UFOs and Nukes) the fact that they continue to occur, some 60 years on, is quite well-documented. A small cross-section of declassified files relating to all of this may be found at:

The UFOs-Nukes Connection Press Conference:

Witness Affidavits and Declassified Documents

DC: [At the press conference in Washington D.C.] we were offered the stories of “credible witnesses”, including Col Charles Halt of Rendlesham forest fame. Halt’s account has grown over the years from a sighting of “unexplained lights” in a Suffolk forest into what these days resembles a script for a science fiction film. He now says he saw [a] spacecraft firing beams of light at the Weapons Store in RAF Bentwaters and is convinced the US and UK governments are conspiring to hide the facts from the public. This type of claim “from a military source” can sound impressive to those unfamiliar with the minutiae of the story (which includes most journalists). But it is skewered by the fact that Halt’s boss, Bentwaters base commander Col Ted Conrad, has told us he saw nothing unusual despite “a sparkling, clear, fogless night with a good field of view in all directions”. Even worse, Halt’s own laconic official account of the events, sent to the British MoD in 1981, fails to mention any perceived threat to NATO security.

RH responds: Here, Dr. Clarke is being both disingenuous and hypocritical. As he already knows, given that earlier I addressed these issues at length (in the first linked article referenced here), Col. Halt did not mention the UFO incursion at the nuclear Weapons Storage Area in his January 13, 1981 “Unexplained Lights” memo for perfectly understandable reasons. Actually, had he done so, he would have violated an Air Force regulation that prohibits discussion of procedures relating to breaches of nuclear weapons security with foreign nationals, including those at the British Ministry of Defence (MoD). That document may be viewed at


Because Clarke is apparently unfamiliar with this regulation, he claims that no investigation of the incident at the WSA ever took place, despite assertions to the contrary by Col. Halt and others at Bentwaters, including former Security Policeman Jim Penniston. The regulation referenced above explicitly states that nuclear weapons-related security cases are to be handled by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI)—something Halt, Penniston and others say took place, even though Clarke could find no record of it in recently declassified British government documents on UFOs. The reason for that is obvious, given the reg’s prohibition against discussion of such procedures with non-U.S. military groups.

Moreover, when Clarke attempted to discredit Halt last summer, he incorrectly claimed that the colonel had only mentioned the 1980 incident at the Bentwaters WSA “20 or 30 years” after-the-fact. Actually, Halt spoke about it on a nationally-broadcast American television program, Unsolved Mysteries, in 1991—the very year he retired from the Air Force and, therefore, the first real opportunity he had to publicly discuss it. Clarke’s charge—which he has never acknowledged as factually inaccurate, even after his error was brought to his attention—was coupled with a condescending lecture to me about the importance of relying on contemporary documentation (Halt’s memo to the MoD) over later recollections, which might be inadvertently distorted by the passage of time.

But then, while responding to my retort, Clarke hypocritically broke his own rule about the importance of using only contemporary information to make a point and published a 2010 letter he had received from Halt’s old boss at Bentwaters, Col. Ted Conrad, in which Conrad disputes Halt’s summary of the case by claiming that no UFOs were involved. When I brought this development to Col. Halt’s attention, he dared Conrad to show up at my September press conference and publicly challenge his own testimony about a UFO sending down beams of light into the Weapons Storage Area. Conrad wisely avoided appearing at the event.

DC: ...Hastings’s other key “credible witness” is Captain Robert Salas, who claims that on one occasion in 1967 a UFO hovered directly over a nuclear weapons store at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana (pictured above), causing 10 Minuteman nuclear missiles to malfunction. But virtually every detail of Salas’s story has been questioned by James Carlson, whose late father Eric, a Captain in the USAF, was present at the time. He insisted that UFOs had absolutely nothing to do with the failure of the missile system and has produced hard evidence that points to a complex equipment malfunction. Which leads us to ask, if the evidence for aliens visiting nuclear bases is so good, why does Robert Hastings pick such poor examples to prove his case?

RH responds: My “other” key witness, Dr. Clarke? If one views the video of the press conference, one will find a total of seven individuals confirming the reality of UFO activity at U.S. nuclear weapons sites. Two of them, retired Lt. Col. Dwynne Arneson and former Capt. Robert Jamison, provided detailed testimony that supported Salas’ assertion about a UFO-involvement in the simultaneous disruption of several nuclear missiles at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, in 1967.

The other press conference participants variously revealed similar incidents during which UFOs repeatedly hovered over nuclear missile sites at Walker AFB, New Mexico, in 1964, at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, in 1976, as well as at an unfinished missile silo at Malmstrom AFB in 1966.

As noted earlier, these revelations are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If I had unlimited financial resources, I could have hosted a press conference at which dozens of ex-U.S. military personnel would have testified about their UFO-related experiences at nuclear weapons sites. In short, Clarke’s attempt to distort the facts—by insinuating that I have only a couple of “key” witnesses—only makes him look foolish.

As for James Carlson’s completely discredited claim about there being no UFO involvement in a full-flight missile shutdown at Malmstrom, on March 16, 1967, one may hear what actually happened from the lips of Carlson’s father’s deputy missile commander, retired Col. Walter Figel, by listening to the tape recorded conversations Salas and I had with Figel years ago, before he began nervously changing his story after the public spotlight fell on him. Unfortunately for the timid, now-waffling Figel, his earlier admissions are a matter of record. To listen to his taped confessions, go to my article, “The Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt” at:

The Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt

The article also contains a link to Salas’ taped conversation with his own missile commander at Malmstrom, retired Col. Fredrick Meiwald, in which Meiwald confirms that he and Salas had been present at another missile launch capsule when a UFO shut down their missiles—thereby refuting Carlson’s libelous claim that Salas had made up that story just to sell books.

Also appearing the article is a pdf image of a letter written by Boeing Corporation engineer Robert Kaminski—the person in charge of investigating the earlier missile shutdown, involving the elder Carlson and Figel—in which Kaminski says that no prosaic reason for the failures could be found. Kaminski also wrote that he had received reports from other Boeing personnel on scene about UFO activity at the time of the incident. This letter is ignored completely by James Carlson in favor of an interim Air Force report (Clarke’s supposedly “hard evidence”) which mused about the possibility of a computer failure being responsible for the malfunctions—something Kaminski quickly ruled out once his investigation took place. Not surprisingly, Dr. Clarke completely swallows Carlson’s blatantly deceptive claims about all of this, in an effort to make his own case that nothing UFO-related occurred at Malmstrom.

In summary, while many uninformed academics around the world have made grossly unfounded claims about the UFO phenomenon over the years, rarely has anyone demonstrated such a complete disregard for the facts. If one reviews the video and links I have presented here, one will quickly see just how many propagandistic tricks and outright falsehoods Clarke has employed.

Over the past few months, I have been asked by several persons whether I think that Clarke is covertly working as a disinformation agent for the Ministry of Defence. My answer is no, there is no evidence for that, even though American journalists were once (and probably still are) recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency for a variety of reasons. In my view, Clarke is just the latest in a long line of self-appointed UFO experts who selectively cling to information about the phenomenon which supports their preconceived, negatively-biased views, while at the same time rejecting any evidence that does not—even though it originates from credible, informed sources. If anything, when Clarke says that no UFOs were present at Bentwaters, and that the British government no longer investigates them, he is merely acting as an unwitting tool whose misguided utterances undoubtedly make some persons at the MoD quite pleased.


1. Ruppelt, Edward J. The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Ace Books, Inc., 1956, p. 155

2. http://www.nicap.org/oakridge/oakridgesightings.htm

3. Ruppelt, Edward J. The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Ace Books, Inc., 1956, p. 252

4. CIA memorandum, Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell to CIA Director Walter B. Smith, December 2, 1952

5. Ibid

1 comment :

  1. Regardless of Robert's spat with Dr. Clarke, the issue of a "waffling" Walter Figel is of interest. Robert states that Figel's earlier statements are a "matter of record." That's all well and good, however, the best that can be gleamed from Figel's statements is that he heard a report from a maintenance team about a sighting of a UFO over one of the launch facilities. Figel appears to have been consistent in that regard over the past years. Whether Robert chooses to use the old or current Figel statements, this still presents a number of problems:

    1. Figel never actually saw a UFO. He and Carlson traveled from Echo back to Malmstrom, approx. 120 miles in distance, yet never reports any unusual activity.

    2. Only two launch facilities had maintenance teams on site. The one team that made the report to Figel via SIN line could not have possibly been in a position to make a visual sighting while inside the LF/silo. The security guards topside never make a report either to Figel, Carlson, or Echo's Flight Security Controller, and they were the only individuals in a position to physically see something, yet they saw nothing. If such a document exists perhaps Robert would be willing to share that information.

    3. The maintenance team and security guards on the other LF never files a report with the crew or Flight Security Controller. This team would eventually penetrate the site and verify it's no-go status, so they were topside for most of the time that UFO activity was being reported back to Carlson and Figel.

    4. Eric Carlson has been ever so consistent in stating that UFOs did not play any part in his missile sorties dropping off of alert.

    So as can be seen above, it does not matter if Figel has been a little timid with his story. There are problems with any form of his story, unless he has recently changed his story to reflect that he actually saw a UFO over one of his launch facilities or over Echo's launch control facility....I seriously doubt that will happen.


    Tim Hebert


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