Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Newly Released Pentagon UFO Files - Not A Laughing Matter

The UFO sighting

Last night, MSNBC's Chris Hayes - while normally a sane and sober commentator-  gave vent to his inner jokester in his 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' segments on 'All In'. This concerned mocking the Pentagon program from which newly released videos showed encounters of extraordinary flying objects with military aircraft.

The Pentagon -released images were shown on ABC News Sunday night then on CBS Early show yesterday - in an extended segment. Therein one beheld  footage of a craft actually rotating in space as it moved at high speed and exclamations heard from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.  While a NY Times account described it as an "aircraft" let's be clear that was no  conventional aircraft  in terms of aerodynamic  performance.   Indeed, my Jayne's Encyclopedia of Aircraft shows no such object which can perform rotations while moving at high speed.  In terms of physics, we are talking about an object able to undergo linear as well as angular velocity changes simultaneously.

The Navy pilots could actually be heard trying to understand what they were seeing. “I have no idea what I saw....it accelerated like nothing I've ever seen" said one, the other adding: "There’s a whole fleet of them,”. Defense officials declined to release the location and date of the incident but we know it occurred in 2004..  One thing we DO know is that military pilots are not clowns, incompetents or hoaxers. They are people about as serious concerning their experiences in the air as victims emerging from a train wreck.

The footage I watched - and I replayed it multiple times-  disclosed a real object - not an artifact, and not any kind of prosaic or known phenomenon (e.g. ball lighting) or object. As an experienced investigator for the National Investigating Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) I often had occasion to conduct investigations of claimed "UFOs" seen in Barbados. In fact, I did a detailed investigation of one particular object - visible to a Founder member of the Barbados Astronomical Society, which I did conclude was  Kugelblitz or ball lighting. This was published in a widely read astronomical journal in 1980  see e.g.


Pentagon officials earlier this month acknowledged the existence of the program, which began as part of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a specific division called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.(AATIP), run by Luis Elizondo . Officials insisted that the effort had ended in 2012, but it fact it has continued with private funding, for the past five years. Officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to their attention by service members while carrying out regular DoD activities.

Why would the Pentagon or DoD be interested in such objects at all?  Obviously, any serious department of defense would be remiss not to - if strange unidentified objects had been on record invading a nation's airspace-- and by military pilots.. The cost of the program came to roughly $22 million in a "black budget"-  which has the mainstream media going bonkers - obviously not aware the CIA has been getting roughly $25 billion a year in black budget pay outs since 9/11.

Incredibly, one media dodo - errrr... so called aviation "expert" on ABC Sunday night - expressed amazement that "so much money" was spent when the program uncovered "only three verifiable incidents" according to him.  This bozo then would condemn a program's overspending that may have actually revealed some kind of extraterrestrial encounters. This while turning a blind eye to the $3 b a month we're pissing down an Afghanistan rat hole.

And, of course, there are the other usual suspects.....errr... "skeptics"- nonplussed even by the reports from trained military pilots and exceptional videos. James E. Oberg, a former Shuttle engineer and author of ten books on space flight, commented to the NY Times that he was "doubtful"  the objects recorded by the Navy pilots were real.  Perhaps he didn't examine the footage closely enough or just believes Navy pilots are in the habit of making things up and going on record, risking their careers and reputations.  He also recycled the baloney that some "unknown agents or persons" could be having us on, dispatching strange craft into the air (no description of how or what) to fool the pilots   These unknown folks, he claimed, "were happy to lurk unrecognized in the noise" or "to stir it up as camouflage".. To which I say, humbug, and Oberg needs to stop overthinking and twisting himself into knots.

To his credit, he did eventually admit "there could be a pearl there" and endorsed further research, as I do.

An MIT astrophysicist, Sara Seager, told the Times that "not knowing the origin of an object doesn't mean it's from another planet or galaxy".  Well, duh! Of course not. But it doesn't mean it's of purely terrestrial origin either. That is the basis for doing further research - and continuing to add to the observational record..  While she's correct that we shouldn't jump to conclusions, we can certainly offer hypotheses - including that can be subject to test. One of these is that whatever objects recorded by the pilots are of extraterrestrial origin. Why? Because they displayed aeronautical and dynamical attributes not consistent with any terrestrial craft.

In my own case, my sole observation of a "UFO" (seen in March, 1962) remains emblazoned in memory to this day - and this is even after having memory "drops" since undergoing general anesthesia twice in the past year. The object - whatever it was- appeared overhead at a North Miami shopping center at dusk and was witnessed by about twenty five others. It was circular in shape  (the size of the full Moon)  and traveled at enormous speed before halting and hovering above the crowd for 2-3 seconds, then heading due south. The next day The Miami Herald reported a "bogey" or unidentified craft had appeared on the radar at Miami International Airport.  If I had to articulate one and only one hypothesis it would be an "extraterrestrial craft". No earthly craft I knew then - or now - was capable of the aerodynamic behavior I observed.

Hallucination? Not when two dozen others saw it too, including my younger brother Jerry - now deceased.

Seager's other remark to the Times was "What people sometimes don't get about science is that we often have phenomena which remain unexplained."  Which really only regurgitates astronomer J. Allen Hynek's original UFO definition, i.e.:

A UFO is the reported perception of an object or light seen in the sky, the appearance, trajectory and general dynamic behavior of which do not suggest a logical, conventional explanation and which is not only mystifying to the original percipients but remains unidentified, after close scrutiny of all available evidence by persons who are technically capable of making a common sense identification, if one were possible.”

The gist of the definition - however lengthy -  is that one must not automatically jump to any conclusion that conflates the UFO with an extraterrestrial craft.  

But again, that doesn't mean reasonable hypotheses can't be proposed until a complete explanation is available. What I suspect holds back too many scientists from being bolder in their hypotheses is the fear of not being taken seriously or being laughed at.  I mean, when you have intelligent media people - like Chris Hayes- who should know better, invoking UFOs for minor yucks you can understand this caution. So, rather than coming out and saying "Yes, it is plausible that thing could be a craft of unearthly design" they hem and haw and repeat the usual hyper cautious vanilla blabber that "we have to wait to get more evidence, sightings, etc."

Nick Pope, who used to run the British government’s UFO project, said: “The take-home message here is that there’s probably something out there, but we don’t know what it is. It’s an extraordinary revelation, not least because it directly contradicts the many specific denials that the U.S. government has issued previously when asked about this subject, and their involvement in it."

Another plaintive question often heard - mainly from the clueless and unwashed - is: "If these are really aliens why haven't they landed in the middle of Washington, D.C.?"

Why would they?  If - like us - they have already surveyed us using robot craft, sending back telemetry and other intelligence, they'd already know we're a batshit crazy, primitive species. To put it in better perspective, as I did at one lecture I gave in Barbados 40 years ago: "Would you really expect any intelligent human to try to carry on conversations with a nest of cockroaches""

How can you say that!? WAAAHHH! Comparing humans to roaches! Uh yeah, because to a highly technologically advanced species able to traverse light years with advanced craft, that's about what we'd be like to THEM.

On the other hand a very real crash of one of these craft may have manifested with the Roswell incident in July, 1947.  This was likely the first and only recorded direct encounter with an alien craft- as well as recovery of bodies - and was reported in the local paper:

In early July 1947, Mac Brazel, foreman of the Foster sheep ranch northwest of Roswell, New Mexico, discovered a large quantity of extremely unusual, widely scattered, and highly fragmented lightweight debris on a pasture. The Army initially attributed it to  a crashed saucer as per the news headline shown in the graphic.  

Major Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group based at Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF), inspected the site shortly after Brazel reported the debris to the Chaves County sheriff in Roswell. Marcel described a big field: debris “.. . about as far as you could see—three quarters [of a] mile long and two hundred to three hundred feet wide.” It was “scattered all over—just like you’d explode something above the ground and [it would] just fall to the ground.” The shortest pieces were “four or five inches. It was [as if it were from] something of some greater area that had been together.”   In other words, an object that had undergone some kind of explosion. 

This transpired  before a high ranking Air Force general (Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey) rushed in to squelch the saucer story by substituting a crashed weather balloon and an attached radar target. Then 47 years later this account was tweaked to a crashed "balloon train"   from "Project Mogul" which no one with an IQ over 70 would believe.

My late brother, Jerome, who served in the United States Air Force Security Service, had no reservations about Roswell: a) being as real as a train wreck,  and b) being the first ever bona fide crash of an extraterrestrial craft on Earth.  He'd intended to lay out all the evidence he'd seen (and handled)  in his planned  memoir: The Aliens Are Here!: What Project Blue Book Should Have Told Us, but the effort was stillborn He had to leave it at an Introduction and two chapters completed in 2010 before health problems terminated his then unpublished work.

In the notes for the unpublished ms. he referenced having actually observed detailed autopsy and anatomical photographs of the Roswell aliens while stationed briefly at Wright-Patterson AFB.  In his own words, from a 1990 conversation (recorded on video when we were all last in Port Charlotte, FL):

"There wasn't a damned doubt when I saw those photos that these things were real. They were as real as photos taken of you or me. No fake this or that, everything genuine".

Given Jerome's work with that AF special department I have no reason to doubt his experience, or what he saw. I mean, hell, he was there,  I wasn't.  Jerome was also adamant that Jesse Marcel and Mac Brazel were victims of a targeted psy ops disinformation campaign led by Gen. Ramey who "was the Air Force's  debunker stooge at that time" - i.e. the guy appointed to do their dirty work and tar the reputations and accounts of others.

In his book, Information Warfare, author Winn Schwartau described psy-ops as the tactic whereby false information or misinformation is sown pertaining to a real event in order to deflect attention from it and at the same time destroy or compromise the reputations of any who reported the facts. 

My brother was convinced this was the basic tactic used on Jesse Marcel and Mac Brazel in the Roswell encounter.

Of course, apart from Project Blue Book, the most extensive and significant UFO study ever conducted was under the direction of  Univ. of Colorado physicist Edward U. Condon. This was for the Air Force- commissioned Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (1969, NY Times Books). While most of the cases were exposed as either natural or meteorological phenomena – or possible hoaxes- one case stood out: Case 46, p. 396 from McMinnville Ore. (11 May, 1950) that concludes - and I quote, from p. 407:

"This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated: geometric, psychological and physical appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object- silvery, metallic and disc shaped flew within sight of two witnesses. "

I found the best part of the case study was the photometric analysis (pp. 402-06). This was essential in order to discriminate luminance conditions between a hypothetical hand model nearby and an actual, extraordinary, distant flying object. The key observation made by the investigators was:

"The shadowed bottom of the UFO (see image) has a particularly pale look suggestive of scattering between observer and object. If such scattering is detectable it may be possible to make some estimate of the distance involved".

From there they list a sequence of possible interpretations, including: optical fabrication or double exposure (rejected because the UFO is darker than the sky background luminance); a retouch of a drawn image (rejected because analysis of the negatives disclosed they were unretouched); physical fabrication using a 'frisbee' hand spun model (rejected because the UFO displays an off-axis pole which is never seen displaced, i.e. in rotation); model suspended from a wire (similar positions in each photo -so possible), and extraordinary flying object (since photometry suggests a large distance).

So, in the end, the last two interpretations had to be analyzed for consistency with the least likely of the two rejected.

The investigators proceeded by computation of the luminance, or the apparent brightness of an object at a distance r, normalized relative to some intrinsic value B(o) at r(o), viz p. 402:

B = B(sky) (1 - exp(-br)) + B(o) exp(-br)

where b is the scattering coefficient. In the equation, the first term (with B(sky)) represents scattered light and the second term, extinction. As the investigators noted (ibid.):

"Since all measures must be based on the witnesses' two photographs, we will determine b for the given day from the photographs themselves. Normalizing all brightnesses (measured from the film and assuming that the images fall on the linear portion of the gamma curve (see- e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_correction) to that of the sky near the horizon, i.e. on a line within a few thousand feet of the ground, where the UFO is constrained to be by the reported cloud height and probable nearness to the camera, we have:

B = 1 + exp(-br)[B(o) - 1]"

From the above, if the object is sufficiently distant one would have:

exp(-br) -> 0

so therefore,

B = 1 + exp (0)[B(o) - 1] = 1 + [B(o) - 1]

and B equals the sky brightness. (in optical terms, the optical depth τ >> 1)
To ascertain whether the claimed sighting photographed is a fake then, all that's needed is to solve for the distance r, given a zero distance luminance B(o) compared to an observed luminance B. As can be seen from the equation, to do this one needs to obtain the scattering coefficient, b.

The investigators used densitometric analysis to obtain an assorted range of values for the luminance B, for different objects appearing in the photographic image - these are presented in Table 2, from the Case Study. (Shown, with comparison of two plates, 23 and 24). Since the investigators knew the distance of 'Hill 2' at 2.2 km then photometry indicated B = 0.685 for the distance hill, while the foreground foliage yielded B = 0.403.

Processing all this data in concert, the investigators obtained the distance r = 0.32 km, or just over 1,050 feet as the distance to the object - nearly one fifth of a mile. The investigators graphically illustrated the domains of the two hypotheses via their graph (Fig. 3) which is appended here. As they note (p. 406):

"If the object is a model suspended from a wire only a few meters away the surface is some 37% brighter (B = 1.21 v. B = 0.885) than the tank and the shaded portion is probably more than 40% brighter than the shadow on the tank...nearly impossible to maintain in the face of the photometry.

The shadowed side of the UFO appears so bright that it suggests significant scattering between it and the observer

In other words, conforming with the distance calculated from the luminance. The investigators graphically illustrated the domains of the two hypotheses via their graph shown below:

The point of all this is there appears to be at least quantitative -photometric  evidence for the existence of extraordinary craft if one knows how (and where) to look for it. In fact, the investigators - all qualified physicists, engineers, didn't use vanilla terms but clearly stated "an extraordinary flying object".  One would suspect the objects shown in the recently released Pentagon files deserved at least that level of conclusion. I would go further and submit that the sort of densitometry and photometric analyses performed for the McMinnville case can also be performed for these Pentagon file cases.  There may even be some hitherto undetected consonance between the optical properties of the  objects which can be exposed.

The $64 dollar question is: Are most interested people qualified to be able to perceive the evidence even if it's staring them in the face? I don't know that they are,  given that even "experts" like James Oberg - who I suspect are more inclined to stick with conventional, recycled pap - especially when interviewed in the NY Times.

In passing, let's also note there have been some latter day skeptics who've tried to debunk the McMinnville case conclusion. .It's interesting that none of these critics have the same level of background or experience as the original investigators on the Condon team. Nor have they repeated the same analyses, step by step.  Yet they expect to be taken just as seriously. I think not.

In that sense they are more like the  'Johnny-come lately' National Academy of Science  team led by Norman Ramsey that attempted to refute the acoustic analysis of the MIT Weiss-Barger team for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. (Recall the Weiss/Barger analysis showed four shots in the JFK assassination.)

The Ramsey Panel analysis was alleged to have  'refuted' the original Weiss -Barger study, but in fact only showed that the Weiss group had omitted some minor considerations. The Ramsey analysis certainly did not 'nullify' the Weiss/Barger analysis since up to now it has not been  reproduced, so cannot be accepted as a bona fide scientific conclusion.

Ultimately, I encourage interested readers to examine carefully the released videos from  the Pentagon's AATIP and judge the validity for themselves.  

Readers can access the UFO video here: https://youtu.be/Ce6ZevfbIK0

No comments: