Magonia 34, October 1989
In the July 1989 Magonia Peter Rogerson postulates an interesting, but largely incomplete scenario regarding John Lears’s UFO ravings, particularly the latter’s call for the impeachment of the President and Congress for having entered into a ‘diplomatic’ arrangement or treaty whereby the little ‘greys’, the malevolent aliens, were allowed to abduct humans for their own purposes in exchange for advanced ‘alien’, i.e. UFO technology.
When a witness in this country is called before a judge in the course of a criminal trial, he or she is asked whether they testimony they are about to give is “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Or at least that’s the way it’s presented on the TV, and we know the telly wouldn’t lie.
And so it is with Rogerson’s interpretation of the influences at work on Lear’s psyche. It might well be true, too, that Lear is driven by archetypal, psychological demons that cause him to cast the UFO in paranoid terms. But it is not, to quote the bailiff of the court who does the swearing-in, the whole truth. That, as always, is more, or in this case Moore, complicated.
Just how contorted events can be surfaced at the summer symposium of MUFON held the first weekend in July in Las Vegas, the giant casino gambling strip and oasis in the desert considered the quintessential American crap-shoot. The theme of the symposium, to give Rogerson his due, was ‘The UFO Cover-Up: A Government Conspiracy?’ William Moore had been scheduled to speak Saturday night in front of Stanton Friedman, but was nowhere in evidence, nor had his paper been submitted previously to MUFON for publication in the symposium proceedings. Instead, Friedman and Moore switched slots, Moore arriving only about 15 minutes before his talk was scheduled to begin.
To the dismay of many, and the active consternation of several, Moore’s talk turned out to be a lengthy refutation of, and ‘confession’ to, charges made by one Robert Hastings, which appeared in an article in the June issue of MUFON Journal. Hastings questioned, in part, whether Moore might not be a ‘mole’ or other agent in the hire of a government or military intelligence agency. Moore confessed that, indeed he had been, but largely in an unwitting role, an entirely unexpected revelation that resulted in angry catcalls from some of Lear’s more fervent followers, and once or twice threatened to bring the whole thing to a confused standstill
Space may not permit a complete sorting out of the personalities and events involved but I’ll try to be as brief and succinct as possible for those operating under the handicap of not being backgrounded in the intricate twists and turns of contemporary American ufology.
Our summarised story begins ten years ago in the summer of 1979. Flush from having co-authored (with Charles Berlitz) the successful Philadelphia Experiment, Moore moved his family from Minnesota to Arizona, where he joined the board of directors of APRO. One of their more colourful constituents or contacts was a man named Paul Bennewitz, a physicist of sorts with his own small electronics concern, Thunder Science, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, home to Kirtland Air Force Base, the Manzano Nuclear Weapons Storage Facility and nearby Sandia Laboratories. Albuquerque then was a hotbed of government-military activity and research, particularly relating to SDI, the so-called ‘Star Wars’.
Bennewitz’s house in the fairly affluent Four Hills section of town actually overlooked Manzano and Kirtland, which adjoins the city’s municipal airport. It is not uncommon for commercial visitors to see the B-1 take off and land, as I have, at one of the runways Kirtland shares with the city. Kirtland is also the site of one of the world’s largest wooden structures, a hangar sometimes used in the testing of EMP effects, the electromagnetic pulse storm associated with a nuclear explosion and capable of fusing the delicate electronic components employed in most space age weapon and communication systems.
It was also not uncommon for Bennewitz to see UFOs from his rooftop; in fact, he had countless stills and feet of film to ‘prove’ it. Unfortunately, according to Moore Bennewitz also had an overactive imagination and an absence of any sort of psychic governor that might have turned off or reduced some of his more extravagant and outrageous speculations. To others however, especially the flood of eager (and eventually influential) ufologists and researchers who soon beat a path to his door, Bennewitz, at least early on, gave the outward appearance of an educated ‘scientist’ who knew whereof he spoke. It was this aura of high-tech hipness, as much as anything, that no doubt lent Bennewitz much of the influence he would later come to exert on American ufology as a whole.
He was contacted by a well-placed individual within the intelligence community who claimed to be directly connected
to a high-level government project dealing with UFOs
At about the same time he would come into contact with Bennewitz, Moore claimed, he was also contacted by “A well-placed individual within the intelligence community who claimed to be directly connected to a high-level government project dealing with UFOs”. This bird of prey, of course, is ‘Falcon’, the identity of whom has been the subject of much speculation, along with that of another of Moore’s secret sources, ‘Condor’. Moore maintained in Las Vegas that Falcon was not the much-rumoured Richard Doty, with the Air Force Office of Special Intelligence (AFOSI) Kirtland, but that in fact Doty was only the ‘middle-man’, though he would later allow himself to be identified as Falcon to throw some hounds off the scent. Reportedly, Falcon and others were dissatisfied with government handling of the UFO subject. They indicated to Moore that they would like to help his “research into the subject in the hope and expectation that I might be able to help them find a way to change the prevailing policy and get the facts to the public without breaking any laws in the process”.
But Falcon and his fellow avians, as it turned out, were also interested in Bennewitz, and for reasons that ostensibly had nothing to do with UFOs. “It became apparent”, said Moore, “that my supplying information to the government, through Doty, on the activities of Paul Bennewitz, AFRO and, to a lesser extent, several other individuals, was to be part of this equation.” Moore’s own rational for getting involved was simple enough: “Being a very small part of that process,” he said, “gave me, I thought, something of an advantage. It became my intention to play that advantage for all the information I could get out of it.”
Why our feathered friends were interested in Bennewitz, to the best of my knowledge, is as follows: Bennewitz had become intimately involved in an abduction case being investigated by Dr Leo Sprinkle, then a professor of psychology at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. the case, involving a woman and her young son, tied UFO occupants to animal mutilations, which were more or less rampant at the time in the American desert Southwest. Puritans may prefer that it was the reports themselves that were rampant, of course, and not the actual mutilations. Be that as it may… their testimony was largely obtained via regressive hypnosis performed by Sprinkle, with Bennewitz apparently sitting in on some of the episodes.
Bennewitz became convinced that the woman witness had been the victim or recipient of an ‘implant’, a minuscule device the greys only too routinely insert in the brains of humans to control their thoughts and actions. How was that contact maintained? Bennewitz believed by means of low frequency electromagnetic waves. At one point, allegedly, in an effort to cut the woman off from her captors, he even wrapped her in foil of some sort. Subsequently he took to trying to intercept the signals himself, apparently with some success. That is to say Bennewitz actually began intercepting ELF waves. Unfortunately for him, they were our waves and not ‘theirs’, probably a by-product of EMP testing going on at Kirtland, but perhaps a side-shoot of any number of Star Wars technologies, from lasers to particle beams.
In some manner, the Air Force learnt of this. They approached Bennewitz directly, and presumably asked him voluntarily to halt his monitoring. As for Bennewitz, being in the frame of mind he was, this only confirmed his worst and deepest suspicions: the Air Force was in it too!
Subsequently, Bennewitz got on the horn, as we say here, and was soon beaming his message of dire UFO invasion to anyone who would or wouldn’t listen, from fellow ufologists to members of the media, Congress and even the President. Not only did he not cease his monitoring, he promptly composed a computer program which purportedly ‘translated’ the incoming alien signals. Bizarre as his warnings were, they made perfect sense to a growing claque of ufologists camped outside Bennewitz’s door.
If Air Force officials can be forgiven anything at this point, it is the lack of awareness that what they had on their hands was a potential raving loony; else they might not have adopted their next strategy which, according to Moore, was to bombard Bennewitz with “as much disinformation as he could personally absorb” in an effort to discredit him personally, should he receive any unwanted public attention”. In effect the position at this point was of a civilian citizen spying and electronically eavesdropping on his own government, instead of the usual vice-versa. Bennewitz could be defused, however, if he were made out to be a UFO nut, if an when the occasion warranted.
As sometimes happens, the disinformation ploy resulted in unexpected side effects, namely a nervous breakdown on the part of Bennewitz, whose business, as well as his mental and physical health, suffered a serious decline. Moore said that Bennewitz was hospitalised under psychiatric care, but I heard this disputed by someone who said they had spoken to Bennewitz’s son. Other eyewitnesses to events agreed, however, that his mental state deteriorated considerably, even if stopping short of actual confinement.
On the face of it, most Europeans may be already baulking, not necessarily given, as are their American counterparts, to an inherent distrust of government and military officialdom. Even Europeans who do routinely take official pronouncements with a grain of salt, may well want to stop short of ascribing such behaviour to anything remotely involved with UFOs. Fortunately, the sceptics, in the form of James Oberg, have already ridden to our rescue. Oberg, for one, has long argued that the pre-perestroika Soviet hierarchy routinely engaged in the manipulation of UFO reports, mainly as a way of letting pass reports that were actually civilian observations of covert military activities not subject to shielding.
You have to ask yourself, ‘where do UFO reports go?’ and its corollary, ‘Whatever becomes of them?’, and the answers are nowhere and nothing,
The important point to remember here is that said government officials and policy were not actively engaged in a conscious cover-up of the UFO phenomenon itself. But that UFO reports, as a category, are much easier to dismiss and ignore than the real phenomena! As evidence, you have only to ask yourself, “where do UFO reports go?” and its corollary, “Whatever becomes of them?”, and the answers are nowhere and nothing, not to the investigative media, not to the Houses of Congress (or Parliament), and certainly not to the military authorities themselves. They are sui generis dead-end, in and of themselves, save for socially ‘safe’ and ‘acceptable’ civilian UFO organisations and individuals, which can be dismissed as misguided ‘crackpots’, who, after all, are only exercising their rights within a democratic society, even if that right is the privilege of self-delusion.
European ufologists as a whole have a way of looking down their snoots at Americans who mention the military and conspiracy in the same breath as UFO, which we all know is only space age folklore. But even as I write, the Sunday New York Times (“All the News That’s Fit to Print”) of August 9, 1989, is before me. On the front page is an article headlined ‘Retribution Seen in Atom Industry’ followed in smaller type by ’4 Who Cited Safety Say They Were Told To See Therapist’. May I quote the first two paragraphs:
“At least four workers who complained about safety and environmental problems at four military nuclear plants run for the government by private contractors say they were ordered by their superiors to see psychiatrists or psychologists.
“The workers and their lawyer all say that they believe the orders came as retaliation for the allegations they made. In two highly publicised cases the allegations against the contractors were confirmed; in the others they have been’ rejected.”
The Land of Opportunity is also where we learnt, twenty years after the fact that the Army in the early 1950′s experimented with LSD on the citizens under their nominal protection, resulting in at least one known suicide. If we have a collective proclivity for paranoia maybe it’s justified and maybe it’s not. Colonel North is either a national hero or a political scoundrel, depending on who you interview.
None of the aforementioned is by way of saying that the government knows more about UFOs than the average civilian ufologist, or that there is anything about UFOs to know, least of all that they represent the vanguard of an alien invasion force, hell-bent on mutilating humans. But it is to say that the scenario outlined by Moore, in its generalities and particulars, has its own peculiar precedents and in no way lies outside the realm of everyday possibility. In short, no deep psychological interpretation of the individual and collective American psyche need be conjured up or called forth to explain the events described by Moore other than real-time occurrences involving real time people.
The fly in an already sticky ointment at this point was Bennewitz himself. Obviously the Air Force knew they had a loose cannon on the deck, and just as obviously they underestimated the degree of looseness by a magnitude or two. The best that can be said in their favour is that they probably had no way of knowing their own activities would drive Bennewitz over the edge. In any event, should the case ever come to court, their defence would be that Bennewitz had driven himself crazy. Knowing he was the subject of AFOSI surveillance only confirmed 8ennewitz’s penchant for paranoia.
By mid-1982, according to Moore, “Paul’s story contained virtually all the elements found in the current crop of rumours being circulated around the UFO community. there were two groups of aliens, one malevolent, one more friendly. the malevolent ones, which Paul referred to as the ‘greys’, were really in control, and they were the ones responsible for the cattle mutilations, for human abductions and the implanting of sinister control devices in humans, for maintaining a secret underground base under Arculeta Peak near Dulce in northwestern New Mexico, and for having supplied the U.S. Government with alien space hardware and weapons which ultimately proved defective or were caused to crash, thus leaving human civilisation virtually defenceless against invasion.”
Most of the paranoid scenario promulgated by Lear and his small circle of followers, then, had its genesis in the fevered brain of Paul Bennewitz, aided to a (unwitting?) degree by AFOSI machinations, and Moore himself, as the agent who passed doctored, and in some cases wholly fabricated, ‘official’ UFO documents from Doty to Bennewitz.
Moore’s confession drew a few ugly utterances from Lear and Bennewitz followers in the audience and from those who felt their worst suspicions about Moore confirmed. In such an atmosphere misunderstandings were almost inevitable. A few participants I talked to believed that Moore admitted willingly and knowingly participating in the spread of disinformation, this would not seem to be the case, and once Moore learnt what was really going on, sometime in 1984, he declined any further participation. By this time at least one other individual, Lee Graham another UFO researcher, had also come under surveillance because of his persistent Freedom of Information Act requests for documents dealing with Stealth technology.
Ordinarily, that might have been the end of it, but these were hardly ordinary circumstances or times. Fast forward to Linda Moulton Howe, an independent Colorado producer of TV documentaries who became involved with animal mutilations in the late 1970′s. Her research resulted in the 1980 hour-long video A Strange Harvest, focusing on cut-up cattle, and the massive, just published Alien Harvest, a 455-page hardback replete with colour microphotographs of laser-like incisions in Arkansas cattle, pictures of anomalous lights from the same area, adjoining Texas, a Foreward by Jacques Vallee, and much regurgitated Bennewitz, mostly in the form of commentary by one Bill Cooper, a Lear confidant. Subtitled ‘Further Evidence Linking Animal Mutilations and Human Abductions to Alien Life Forms’, Harvest also contains a 33-page transcript of a hypnosis session conducted by Leo Sprinkle on the women and boy who said they witnessed aliens mutilating animals, the very same case in which Bennewitz was originally involved.
Alien Harvest is in fact the printed version of the UFO documentary Howe herself originally had in mind when she signed a production contract with the cable-TV network, Home Box Office (HBO), in March of 1983. That proposed documentary, UFOs: the E-T Factor, was never made, for reasons that will soon become apparent. A prime source for the film Howe had in mind was none other than Bennewitz, whom AFOSI had assumed defused or decommissioned. Now, no doubt to their chagrin, he was about to ‘star’, or at least be featured, in a UFO documentary to be hyped and shown on national TV!
According to the scenario Moore outlined, something akin to controlled panic must have broken out within AFOSI. Unknown to Moore, apparently, the same disinformation intended to discredit Bennewitz was dusted off and reused, this time with Howe as the recipient, and Doty doing the duping in person. A good deal of Harvest is in fact given over to Howe’s ‘doublecross’ at the hands of Doty, happy to be taken as Falcon. According to Howe, Doty not only showed her ‘official’ documents similar to the Presidential briefing papers which later surfaced as MJ-12, he also intimated that certain officials within the government hierarchy charged with UFO policy were dissatisfied with that policy, and might well welcome a measured release of much of the revealing ‘Top Secret’ stuff in their files, including film footage of an actual encounter between alien beings and U.S, military personnel, alleged to have taken place at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.
If Howe was flattered, her superiors at HBO must have been flabbergasted to an equal degree; the planned documentary was rapidly rising above the realm of a normal ‘eyecatcher’ to the rarefied heights of scoop of the century.
But it was not to be. The benefit of hindsight makes it appear that Doty and his superiors simply strung Howe along with a series of postponed deadlines for delivery of the epoch making material. Eventually, one might say inevitably, HBO officials grew disenchanted with the delays and cancelled the contract. Taken at face value, Howe’s runaround experiences with Doty, as well as the wealth of ‘information’ conducted through the AFOSI disinformation conduit that was Bennewitz, permeate her book. Moore, somewhat gratuitously, and disregarding entirely the data out of Arkansas, which Howe presented in her own symposium speech, referred to Allen Harvest as “a dismal crop failure”.
Outside the lecture hall before his talk, Howe greeted Moore with fire in her eyes: “This has gone on long enough,” she said, ” I want to know who’s being used and why?”
“I know the answer to that one”, Moore said. “We both were.”
All of Moore’s direct quotes are taken from his printed paper UFOs and the US Government,- Part 1, which he read word-for-word in person.