Friday, 27 May 2016

NORAD And The UFO Smokescreen

Part 8

  

In Part 6 and Part 7 of my “NORAD and the UFO Smokescreen” series, I discussed the possibility that the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), as well as other commands and their space components, may have detected and tracked UFO’s outside Earth’s atmosphere. As I have stated before, I use the term “UFO” to describe unknown and unidentifiable bodies which are above-and-beyond natural and manmade objects. I discussed NORAD’s early efforts, starting in the 1950’s, through to the 1990’s and 2000’s, where the US Space Command (SPACECOM), and then the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) partially took over space surveillance from NORAD. Possibly the most important issue I discussed was the detection and tracking of unknown bodies in space, usually termed “Uncorrelated Targets” (UCTs), plus the declassified military doctrine that tasks the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) with evaluating them.

In this entry in the series, I look at the efforts of UFO researchers, from the 1970’s to the 1990’s, to obtain actual UCT data from NORAD, as well as the space component commands of the United States Navy (USN) and United States Air Force (USAF). It should be noted, that UFO researchers were not aware of the term “Uncorrelated Target” (UCT) until 1994, yet had been in use within the US military since at least 1968. Even without using the exact jargon, some significant information was released.

“Uncorrelated Observations”         

On the 3erd of July, 1978, researcher Robert Todd submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the (USN) Naval Space Command (NAVSPACOM), or, specifically, the Naval Space Surveillance System (NAVSPASUR) Headquarters at Dahlgren, Virginia. His request asked for:

“….all records of, or, relating to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), unidentified flight activity, unknown objects, or unknown tracks, in possession of the Naval Space Surveillance System.”.

As discussed previously, NORAD, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, was in control of the “Space Detection and Tracking System” (SPADATS). ‘SPADATS data streams were, at that time, coming partly from the NAVSPASUR network. This was only one of a number of avenues Todd took to obtain data relating to unknown or unidentified objects in space. It should be noted that the term “Uncorrelated Target” (UCT) was probably unknown to researchers at this time, otherwise Todd would have utilised that term. Either way, his FOI request was specific enough that those handling it didn’t attempt to knock it back due to imprecise terminology. This appear to be the first time a UFO researcher employed the FOI Act to secure space tracking data to look for potential UFO activity in space. Below is a copy of this very early effort.


On the 11th of July, 1978, Captain B. F. Czaja, the Commanding Officer of NAVSPASUR Headquarters, formulated a reply to Todd, stating, in part:

“The Naval Space Surveillance System is under the operational control of the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD). All space objects detected and observed by the system are reported to NORAD. NORAD regulations require this command to forward all requests for data to its Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Your letter therefore has been forwarded requesting NORAD Headquarters to take action. You may expect to hear from them shortly.”

This reply explicitly states that NORAD had control over NAVSPASUR’s systems and incoming data. On top of that, NORAD apparently also had issued regulations regarding the dissemination of any unknown space object data. Specifically, “NORAD regulations require this command to forward all requests for data to its Headquarters in Colorado Springs…”. This is very convenient for all involved.

Todd’s FOI request was indeed forwarded to NORAD, or rather the USAF’s Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM), who often handled FOI requests on NORAD’s behalf. On the 11th of August, 1978, ADCOM’s Director of Administration, (ADCOM/DAD) Colonel Terrence C. James, replied to Todd’s request in a lengthy two page letter. I have highlighted significant segments of the letter:

“Your letter of 3 July 1978 was received by this headquarters on 17th July 1978. In response to your request, NORAD has no record of or relating to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), unidentified flight activity, or other unknowns being tracked by the Naval Space Surveillance System (NAVSPASUR).”

This statement is misleading. One of NAVSPASUR’s missions is to detect and track unknown objects, as we shall see. NORAD is, in turn, a consumer of that data. So the statement “NORAD has no record of… … unknowns being tracked by the Naval Space Surveillance System (NAVSPASUR)” was either extremely poorly thought out, or, intentionally deceptive. The letter goes on to conversely state that:

“…approximately 25,000 observations are sent to the NORAD Space Defense Center each day from the sensor system… …Observations which do not directly correlate with a catalogued satellite are referred to as uncorrelated observations.”

Furthermore,

“Approximately 10,000,000 uncorrelated observations have been accumulated over the past twenty years, of which about 875,000 total uncorrelated observations are from the Naval Space Surveillance System.”

And,

“As you probably know, we are required under the Freedom of Information Act to release upon request from the public any “reasonably described” material in our possession that qualifies as a record and is not exempt from disclosure. However, the record must exist at the time of request. It is estimated that 340 hours of computer time and 400 manhours in addition to eight boxes of computer paper would be required to create the record of uncorrelated objects detected by NAVSPASUR.”

Here we see, for the first time, the term “uncorrelated” in regards to unknown space objects. As I have discussed previously, the term “uncorrelated” is used first when an uncatalogued space object is tracked by ground based sensors. It is either termed an “Uncorrelated Observation”, as we see in the above correspondence, or “Unknown Observation”, which we have seen in other documentation. Both terms are abbreviated to “UO”. If routine attempts to identify the UO fail, it is quickly “tagged” as an “uncorrelated target” (UCT) and further attempts are made to identify it. Whatever the terminology being used, this letter is openly stating that huge numbers of unknown objects in space were being detected and tracked. Generally, it appears that NORAD and the component space commands, like NAVSPACOM, were looking for objects that were in orbit, or, missiles that appear to be threatening the North American continent. However, without any UO data, or studies of such data, researchers couldn’t be sure. The two page letter from ADCOM/DAD to Robert Todd is imaged below.



Robert Todd wasn’t dissuaded by the scope of this response, and boldly replied on the 21th of August, 1978, asking:

“Would you please provide an estimate (in dollars) regarding what would be needed to obtain copies of the 10,000,000 uncorrelated observations made by the NORAD Space Detection and Tracking System (SPADATS)?

What kind of information is retained on these observations? Does the information include detail on the objects’ speed, course, altitude, size and maneuvers (if any)?

Would ADCOM be willing to undertake a project to make these uncorrelated observations available if assurances were given that all expenses incurred by ADCOM would be reimbursed? Am I correct in assuming that ADCOM would insist on payment prior to processing such a request?”

This, I believe, is one of the most ambitious requests for information that I have ever seen. ADCOM’s Directorate of Administration (ADCOM/DAD) must surely have been surprised by Todd’s direct and determined questions. This letter is imaged below.


On the 28th of September, 1978, ADCOM’s Deputy Director of Administration, Colonel Robert N. Meredith, replied to Robert Todd with one of the most well-known, and eye-opening, pieces of FOI correspondence in the history of UFO research. This is the first time this letter has ever been widely published. It stated:

“1. In response to your letter of 21 August 1978, the following information is provided:

a. To create a record of the approximately 10,000,000 uncorrelated observations accumulated over the past twenty years would cost approximately $155,455.

b. The data retained on observations include such parameters as: sensor making the observation, time of observation, elevation from the sensor, and slant range from the sensor. Depending on the sensor, other data may be included, but a single correlated or uncorrelated observation from any sensor would never have information on the objects size or maneuvers.

2. We are unable to undertake the project to create a record for you because of the operational impact such a project would have on computer requirements.”

Needless to say, a cost of $155,455 was well beyond the means of a civilian researcher like Todd, and, unsurprisingly, he dropped his FOI action on the matter. Of interest, it appears that ADCOM, in its letter to Todd, was dishonest when they stated NAVSPASUR “...would never have information on the objects size or maneuvers”. In the Nov 26th, 1962, edition of  “Aviation Week” there is an article describing the early NAVSPASUR system. It states that the huge radar fence system does measure satellite “size”. This was with the capability of the technology sixteen years before ADCOMs letter to Todd. The article states:

“...the setting of the automatic gain control... ...indicates received signal strength.  This enables operators to estimate the size of the satellite, taking into account the satellite's altitude and distance from the station.”  

The above detailed ADCOM letter to Todd is imaged below.



The Good Doctor, And Some Surprising Releases       

Twelve years passed before another UFO researcher tried to obtain unknown space object data from the US military. Dr. Henry Azadehdel, better known as Dr. Armen Victorian, submitted an FOI request to NAVSPASUR on the 5th of April, 1990, for “unknown observations” detected by the NAVSPASUR network. Previously, when Robert Todd had attempted to obtain the same data, the FOI request was forward to NORAD to handle. But this time, NAVSPASUR directly handled Dr. Armen Victorian’s, and furnished him with a sample of two months’ worth of “unknown NAVSPASUR observations” data. In a May 2, 1990 reply, USN Commander R. C. King, Executive Officer of NAVSPASUR’s Dahlgren, Virginia Headquarters, stated, in part:

“The mission of NAVSPASUR is: to maintain a constant surveillance of space and provide satellite data as directed by the Chief of Naval Operations and higher authority to fulfil Navy and national requirements. NAVSPASUR is comprised of equipments performing three operational functions. First, data acquisitions of satellites if performed by a complex of three transmitting and six receiving stations located on a great circle across the southern United States. Next satellite detection and correlation with predictions is performed by digital computers at the NAVSPASUR Headquarters in Dahlgren, Virginia. Lastly, data storage, retrieval, and updating of orbiting elements of past, present, and future paths of all known orbiting objects are performed by the computer center at NAVSPACSUR Headquarters.”

Curiously, Commander R. C. King’s letter goes on, somewhat with context, to state:

“The address is:

HQ USSPACECOM/J3SOS
Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Peterson AFB, Co. 80914-5000”
ATTN: Lt. Dupourque”

As we know, the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM), or just SPACECOM, was responsible, by the late 1980’s, for the integration of space object detection data which streamed in from NAVSPASUR and the USAF’s equivalent system, SPACETRACK. Simply put, NORAD’s old 1960’s and 1970’s-era “Space Detection and Tracking System” (SPADATS) had been replaced by SPACECOM’s Space Defence Operations Center (SPADOC). SPADOC was partially run by the 1st Command and Control Squadron (1CACS). In the mid 1990’s, SPADOC was absorbed into SPACECOM’s Space Surveillance Center (SSC). In regards to the above letter, Why Dr. Armen Victorian was given a specific SPACECOM postal address is unclear, especially considering NAVSPASUR had attached six pages of “unknown NAVSPASUR observations” dating from the 2nd of March, 1990 to 1 May, 1990.  Below is a copy of the reply letter.


More importantly, published for the first time, I have imaged below a sample of the six page enclosure furnished to Victorian. This is actual “unknown observation” data, or, now properly and publicly as “UCTs”. What it comprises of is tabulated data showing, “Date” and “Time” in the first two columns, then “Latitude” and “Longitude” in the next two columns. The fifth column is listed as “Right Ascension of Objects”, and the sixth column is “Height”. The seventh column refers to “Stations Participating”. The final two columns do not have headings, so we don’t know what they refer to.  


Reams of numbers like this, of course, do not tell us anything about the UFO phenomenon. All we can deduct from this is that the NAVSPASUR sites are consistently detecting bodies not in their databases. Having said that, UFO research often starts with something basic or raw. We don’t know if Victorian attempted further requests for more focused information, but undoubtedly it would have been worth asking NAVSPASUR for any, say, records related to the analysis of especially unusual space observations. Victorian’s whereabouts are unknown, as is his great body of work.

Also in 1990, Dr. Victorian was engaging the USAF’s Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). In a July 12th, 1990, FOI request, Victorian asked AFSPC for information relating to unknown space object detection and tracking. Specifically, it appears that he was looking for any releasable records regarding AFSPC’s “Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System” (GEODSS). GEODSS is a system of five space tracking sites under the control of AFSPC, which still survive today as part of the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). TRW Defence and Space System Group, in its “GEODSS: HEAVENLY CHRONICLER” handbook, published in April, 1980, describes a GEODSS site as:

“…a complex system of wide-field telescopes, extremely sensitive television cameras and radiometers coupled with modern signal processors and digital computers, and some very sophisticated software... …The system can detect objects 10,000 times dimmer than the naked eye can see.”.

Far more recent material on the GEODSS network is available, but this early example of publicly disclosed information is the only type of thing Dr. Victorian had to go on at the time when corresponding with AFSPC. Whatever his sources, he apparently requested numerous records in the one FOI request, and each record was handled somewhat separately. In a 21st August, 1990 reply from Sharon A. Law, Acting Chief, Records Management Division, Directorate of Information Management, AFSPC, it was stated, in part:

“This replies to that portion of your July 12, 1990 Freedom of Information Act request pertaining to Information (Scientific) on Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, capable of detecting 23,000 miles or so into space.”

With that, Victorian was released a copy of a training handbook titled “Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, Phase 1 Training Handbook” and a copy of an AFSPC 3rd Space Support Wing (3SSW), “Fact Sheet” on the GEODSS system. Victorian mailed a copy of all this material to researcher Barry Greenwood, including the above mentioned FOI letter, which I have imaged below. Also, Victorian included a handwritten message for Greenwood, which reads:

“I have written to them on the missing pages + figures. Last time I spoke to Bob Kirk, he told me, they have to review those pages to see whether they can release. However, I found this pamphlet quite revealing. The technology involved is science fiction capability.  Regards, Henry, 30-8-90”


Indeed, the “Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, Phase 1 Training Handbook” furnished to Dr. Victorian is missing six pages out of forty-two. Maybe it was never realsed. Imaged here is the front page of the handbook.


Neither the “Ground Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System, Phase 1 Training Handbook” or the AFSPC 3rd Space Support Wing (3SSW), GEODSS “Fact Sheet” describes anything specifically related to “our” kind of UFOs. GEODSS is designed to initially detect and subsequently track orbiting, manmade space objects, or, objects that resemble missiles which threaten the United States and her allies. When a true unknown object is seen, it is “tagged” as a “UO”, and urgent assessments regarding its vital movement parameters. If it can’t be matched to a known object that has recently moved or been lost, it is labelled, as I have discussed at length, a “UCT”. UCT’s are considered as a top priority within NORAD and STRATCOM, and are evaluated accordingly. This process is vital for the defence of the United States. Of course, there is every possibility that a UFO – something that totally fails to match anything like an orbiting body or an incoming missile payload – could be detected and tracked by multiple GEODSS sites, as well as the other sites that make up the SSN.

In Part 9 of this series, I will continue discussing the hitherto unseen efforts by UFO researchers in years gone by, as well as introduce some related topics which will finally lead into the work that is being currently achieved by myself, and colleague David Charmichael, today.  

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Mid-Air Encounter With UFO      

Rarely Seen US Army Documents Available Again 

 

Who remembers the 1973 case where a UFO nearly destroyed a US Army Reserve helicopter? You should. Even the debunkers and sceptics get uncomfortable with this one. If, by some twist of fate, you don’t, perhaps you will recognise the infamous one page “US Army Disposition Form” report which was typed up and signed by all four of the crew – 1st. Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, SSgt. John Healey, SSgt. Robert Yanacek, and Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne. I have imaged it below.


This document is very well known, and is quoted whenever the case is discussed. The “Subject” box has “Near Midair Collision with UFO Report” typed in. What a start to an official military report straight after the incident occurred? 

What many researchers don’t know, though, is that there were actually four more pages of USAR paperwork with this case. Researcher Robert Todd had the US Army’s Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) release these records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after some of the most abusively demanding correspondence anyone will ever from a UFO researcher. The records, on top of the above mentioned disposition form, are four “Operational Hazard Reports”. This type of form was also known as a “DA Form 2696” and is vital for recording hazardous events.  An air safety or flying “hazard” was, in 1973, defined by the US Army as “any condition or act that affects or may affect the safe operation of Army aircraft…”. After the startling UFO encounter, each of the four crew filled out one of these forms. There are tick-boxes and sections that need to be filled in, and certainly were in this case, such as “Departed From” and “Flight Atmospheric Conditions”. The most interesting sections, however, are the “Description/Explanation/Comments” box, the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Type A/C)” box, and the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Obstacle Description)” box.

Starting with SSgt. John Healey’s typed form. In the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Type A/C)” box, he typed in “UNK”, which of course means “unknown”. No surprises whatsoever there. In the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Obstacle Description)” box he states “gry/60’/tube shape”. For the “Description/Explanation/Comments” section Healey states:

“Bright red lite on nose, bright green lite on under carriage near aft end, bright white lite on aft end. Appeared gray in color.”.

I have imaged the form below.


           SSgt. Robert Yanacek, the crew chief for the flight, hand wrote his answers rather than using a typewriter. Also, the copy of this form has a small amount missing from the far left-hand side. In the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Type A/C)” box, he wrote in “Unidentified”. Next to it, in the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Obstacle Description)” box, he writes “Solo – Oblong with lights”. The “Description/Explanation/Comments” section, which slightly suffers the effects of a poor copying when the records were furnished to Robert Todd, Yanacek states:

“??ject approached at same altitude from 8 – 10 mi out, ?? the east, forcing acft commander to take evasive ??tion. Object made no attempt to alter its flight path.”

Using common sense, we can be pretty sure that “??ject” would have said “object”; “??” would say something like “from”; and “??tion” would have said “action”. This page is imaged below.


The third hazard report form was filled out, with a typewriter, by 1st. Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, who was at the controls of the helicopter on the front left-hand side. In the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Type A/C)” box, he has entered in “UFO”. This is simultaneously both nebulous, as well as paradoxically explicit. The “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Obstacle Description)” box has been left blank. For the “Description/Explanation/Comments” section Jezzie states:

“Obstacle sighted on the Eastern horizon. First impression was that red light spotted was a radio tower. Then pilot and crewchief noticed its movement, and that its direction was toward our aircraft. I spotted this obstacle at about 500ft above us flying rapidly in the westerly direction. Only thing sited was a highly intense white-green trailing light. Speed of obstacle and/or a/c was estimated at 500 knots or better.”

See below.


The final hazard report form I have on file was filled out by Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne who was commanding the flight from the front right-hand. In the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Type A/C)” box, he has entered in “Unknown”. For the “Other Aircraft/Obstacle (Obstacle Description)” Coyne has written “See Attached Sheet”. This is interesting because it refers to a annotated sketch of the object created by Coyne, which I will present further on. Finally, the “Description/Explanation/Comments” section has been left black, possibly because Coyne was instrumental in typing out and submitting the more well-known “US Army Disposition Form” which I presented at earlier, and where his narrative is longer than what can be entered into his the hazard form. See below.


Finally, as mentioned above, there is one final sheet of paper – an annotated sketch of the object drawn by Coyne – was released with the hazard reports by the US Army’s record keepers. It is titled, in Coyne’s handwriting, “Continuation Sheet to DA Form 2696, Item #5 Obstacle Description: Continued.” Coyne indicates the “direction of movement” with an arrow, and clearly states, “grey metallic hull”, “Constant bright red light”, and “50 to 60 feet in length”. Finally, he writes “Green constant light that moves similar to a spot light only brighter” next to the drawing of the object and indicates where this light was apparently emanating from. I have imaged it below.

Again, this case has been covered very heavily. However, for ease, I will provide a brief synopsis above the official records thus far presented. A USAR UH-1H helicopter, based in Cleveland, Ohio, was returning from Columbus, Ohio, at about 10:30pm following regularly scheduled physical examinations. Weather was clear and starry. The four-man crew, commanded by Lawrence Coyne, a 19-year veteran of the USAR, noticed a red light on the horizon which appeared to be converging on the helicopter at a worrying speed.

Jennie Zeidman, associate of astronomer J. Allen Hynek, published a report titled “Helicopter-UFO Encounter Over Ohio” for the Centre for UFO Studies in 1979 after meticulously investigating the case. Zeidman states:

“Just as a collision appeared imminent, the unknown light halted in its westward course and assumed a hovering relationship above and in front of the helicopter. “It wasn’t cruising, it was stopped. For maybe ten to twelve seconds – just stopped,” Yanacsek reported. Coyne, Healey, and Yanacsek agree that a cigar-shaped, slightly domed object subtended an angle of nearly the width of the front windshield. A featureless, gray, metallic-looking structure was precisely delineated against the background stars. Yanacsek reported “a suggestion of windows” along the top dome section… …The green beam passed upward over the helicopter nose, swung up through the windshield, continued upward and entered the tinted upper window panels. At that point the cockpit was enveloped in green light. Jezzi reported only a bright white light, comparable to the leading light of a small aircraft, visible through the top “greenhouse” panels of the windshield. After the estimated ten seconds of “hovering,” the object began to accelerate off to the west… …After the object had broken off its hovering relationship, Jezzi and Coyne noted that the magnetic compass disk was rotating approximately four times per minute and that the altimeter read approximately 3,500 feet; a 1,000 foot-per-minute climb was in progress. Coyne insists that the collective was still bottomed from his evasive descent. Since the collective could not be lowered further, he had no alternative but to lift it, whatever the results, and after a few seconds of gingerly maneuvering controls (during which the helicopter reached nearly 3,800 feet), positive control was achieved. By that time the white light had already moved into the Mansfield area. Coyne had been subliminally aware of the climb; the others not at all, yet they had all been acutely aware of the g-forces of the dive. The helicopter was brought back to the flight plan altitude of 2,500 feet, radio contact was achieved with Canton/Akron, the night proceeded uneventfully to Cleveland.”

The case has never been solved. 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Possible "Foo Fighter" Documents Found For Australia?

Part 3

 

Recently, in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I have presented World War II records comprising of potentially unusual aerial sightings which were reported by Allied servicemen in the Asia-Pacific theatre, and routed through Brisbane, Australia. These were not Australian records though; they were American. Researcher Barry Greenwood is currently indexing nearly ten thousand pages of WW2 “Foo Fighter” records, the majority of which were donated to him by author Keith Chester, who wrote the book “Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II”. It is from this archive that I sourced the material I’ve offered so far.

Furthermore, I discussed the possibility of searching our own National Archives of Australia (NAA) for records created during WWII, starting with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) files. Using the NAA’s powerful “RecordSearch” database, I searched for operational records of RAAF providence, specifically created between 1942 and 1945. I picked this period because it very much seems to be when the vast majority of unusual phenomenon reports were coming through, both in Europe and Asia. Dozens of files, already digitised, thus viewable online, came up from my search parameters. Simultaneously, researcher Keith Basterfield show interest in this endeavour, so, as we have done before, we divided some of the files up and have begun searching for aerial oddities. To our surprise, somewhat promising results have appeared already for both of us. Keith has presented some of his findings on here, and is continuing to search for more.

The two records I found contain what are probably references to aerial battle and flight activity, but one can’t be sure. The first file I went through relates to our RAAF’s heavy bombing contributions in Europe where we flew under the command of the British. It is titled “RAAF Squadron Narrative Reports – 466 Squadron” and has a contents date range of 1942 – 1944. The Series Number is A9652, Control Symbol is BOX 37 and the Barcode is 13057977. On Page 20, it is stated:

“…were not observed and there was no return fire. Aircraft HE150 saw a white flash on sea and red flash in sky. Position 53. 48 N. 03. 33 E.   Aircraft HE411 saw at 53. 36 N. 03.27E. red star followed by white star. At 18.46 same aircraft saw a red flash in the sky followed by a white flash on the sea at 53.40 N. 03.00 E.   Aircraft HE.53 saw on sea a small flickering yellow light at approximately 53. 37 N. 0414 E. Aircraft HE164 saw a shape on the sea at approximately 53.43 N. 04.37 E. The shape resembled an aircraft rather than a ship but it was not on fire and no light was seen.”

The reference to “red star followed by white star” is curious because, although one would normally assume that the narrative is discussing aerial ordnance and direct hits on an aircraft, there are many other reports from Europe like this that are anything but. The page is imaged below.



Another possibly curious entry, though incredibly sparse on detail, comes from a 1943 file titled “RAAF Command Headquarters – [Number] 9 Operational Group - Reports on Operations”.  The Series Number is A11093 and Control Symbol is listed as 370/2M3. The Barcode is 464186, and file is a mere 39 pages long. The file has lists of tabulated mission information, and contains many references to “U/I Aircraft”. The term “U/I” clearly means “Unidentified”, though no details are usually given. On page 29 though, there is an 16th December, 1943 entry that contains the following passage besides the “Results” section:

“Force not located. One u/i airplane sighted, position 0730 S. 15410 E. at 0956/L. but were unable to overtake.”

From this, we can’t be sure who was unable to overtake who. In fact we can’t be sure of anything. There is no more information. What this does, as I have said before, is shows us decent records do exist, and need to be checked. There may be quite shocking UFO cases in right there waiting. The above mentioned page is imaged below.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Rejuvenated "Betz Memo"


          In a recent post I presented a rejuvenated copy of the infamous December, 1969 “Bolender Memo” – a United States Air Force (USAF) Air Staff Summary, to aide in the closure of Project Blue Book. The re-scanning and enhancement of government UFO documents is a prime concern of mine. How can UFO researchers be taken seriously if their source material is difficult to read or shows signs of neglect?

Another such USAF document in dire need of rescanning is the “Betz Memo”. First released to researcher Robert Todd in August, 1979, the document is more officially known as the “AFCIN-1E-0 Draft Policy” letter. At six pages, it was prepared by Lt. Col. Norman M. Rosner to Col. Betz on November 3erd, 1961. Actually, the top of Page 1 has “REPLY TO ATTN OF AFCIN-1E-0/Colonel Betz”, as well as “TO” both “AFCIN-1E” and “AFCIN-1”. “AFCIN” translates as “Air Force Chief of Intelligence”, and subsequent letters and numerals we see in the above references are divisions within the AFCIN. For example, “AFCIN-1E” is the 1127th USAF Field Activities Group (1127th FAG). The subject line has “(U) AFCIN Intelligence Team Personnel”. We don’t know what the document was classified, but it is fair to say that SECRET was most appropriate for a document of this nature. Some sections, unsurprisingly, are redacted.

I am not attempting to fully analyse the contents of the “Betz Memo” here, but rather present far more readable copies, which have been prepared by Boston based research Barry Greenwood. However, I will highlight some of the passages of text which make this document interesting to UFO researchers, plus, detail some of the differences between the original copy and the fraudulently altered copies which have circulated in books and on the internet. I’m more than happy to name the individual who fiddled with the original. It was Clifford Stone. Indiscretions – and that’s putting it mildly – like this are inexcusable, and real researchers judge such deceptions accordingly. Anyway, the six page “Betz Memo”, is imaged below, and is the most clean and intelligible version available.








Primarily, as I said, this post is to present the document in a more usable, high quality form. Some analysis is needed though. A hand written note, which dubious online copies do not contain, has this statement at the top of Page 1:

           “This draft proposal was not approved and was not forwarded for action”

On Page 1, section 2c states:  

“In addition to their staff duty assignments, intelligence team personnel have peacetime duty functions in support of such Air Force projects as Moondust, Bluefly, and UFO, and other AFCIN directed quick reaction projects which require intelligence team operational capabilities.”

Page 2, section 5, contains three sub-sections of caused the most fuss when this document was released:

“e. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO):  Headquarters USAF has established a program for investigation of reliably reported unidentified flying objects within the United States.  AFR 200-2 delineates 1127th collection responsibilities.”

f. Blue Fly:  Operation Blue Fly has been established to facilitate expeditious delivery to FTD of Moon Dust or other items of great technical intelligence interest.  AFCIN SOP for Blue Fly operations, February 1960, provides for 1127th participation.”

g. Moon Dust:  As a specialized aspect of its over-all material exploitation program, Headquarters USAF has established Project Moon Dust to locate, recover and deliver descended foreign space vehicles. ICGL #4, 25 April 1961, delineates collection responsibilities.”

In the original copy, there are two handwritten notes simply saying “No” next to the above points “f” and “g”. This implies that “Blue Fly” and “Moon Dust” operations were not accepted as continuing operations as laid out in this draft. This doesn’t in any way mean that these activities never existed beforehand, nor later, because we know for a fact they did. In other words, the draft policy presented here remained in draft form and wasn’t accepted by Col. Betz. On the other hand, the deceitfully altered copy of this page has no handwritten notes saying “No” which implies that “Blue Fly” and “Moon Dust” operations were current and ongoing.

Also, the statement “ICGL #4, 25 April 1961, delineates collection responsibilities” has never been explained. “ICGL” stands for “Intelligence Collection Guidance Letter”. This document presumably discusses what types of space junk or other downed foreign hardware should be collected, under what jurisdictions, perhaps what safety precautions ought be involved. The USAF has never been able, or perhaps bothered, to release any records relating to this matter. An April 11, 1986 letter from Anne W. Turner, USAF Headquarters, Freedom of Information Office, stated:

“AForce/INtel has no knowledge of ‘ICGL #4’ dated 25 April 1961, pertaining to Project Moon Dust.”.

To my knowledge, nothing more has been released. Finally, Page 3, section 6c of the Betz Memo, states: 

“Peacetime employment of AFCIN intelligence team capability is provided for in UFO investigation (AFR 200-2) and in support of Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) Foreign Technology Division (FTD) Projects Moon Dust and Blue Fly. These three peacetime projects all involve a potential for employment of qualified field intelligence personnel on a quick reaction basis to recover or perform field exploitation of unidentified flying objects, or known Soviet/Bloc aerospace vehicles, weapons systems, and/or residual components of such equipment.”

Much has been made in the UFO community regarding the distinction between “unidentified flying objects” and “known Soviet/Bloc aerospace vehicles” in this passage of text. Whether this points to a careful and deliberate division between UFO’s and more regular manmade space debris, or just a generalised statement that includes anything that could be possibly airborne, hasn’t been determined. There is every chance Lt. Col. Rosner wasn’t refering to “our” sort of UFO’s.

Also, readers will notice a number of redactions throughout the document. When it was initially released to Robert Todd, Robert W. Crittenden, the Deputy Administrative Assistant, at the Office of the Secretary of the USAF, stated:

“Portions of the AFCIN-1E-0 letter, dated 3 November 1961 are releasable; however, the remaining portions are still exempt from mandatory release under the Freedom of Information Act 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1).  This information is currently classified under Executive Order 12065, Section 1-301 (a) and (c), as implemented by Department of Defense regulation 5200.1-R, paragraphs 2-301 (C) (3) and (5).  The continuing protection of this information is essential to the national security because it reveals intelligence sources and methods.  The release of this information could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable damage to the national security.”

Much more could be debated about all this, and should be. Certainly more records from the early 1960’s need to be located. Hopefully with the display of such an improved copy there will be further examination. Finally, I have imaged below the more common, barely readable, plus falsified altered version which has seeped through the internet for so long. There are no more excuses for these wrongdoings, so delete your current copy of the “Betz Memo” and save the version I have exhibited above.








Project Moon Dust And The 1127th Field Activities Group

More Unseen Records?           

When going through hundreds of old United States Air Force (USAF) records at archive.org I found a record titled “History of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence: July – December 1967”. This is not the first time I have found records this way. See this post for another example of what can be found at archive.org if one makes the effort. Anyway, the above mentioned record seems to only include the functions and responsibilities of the 1127th Field Activities Group (FAG). It starts off at Page 46. For those readers who don’t know, the 1127th FAG, historically, relates to the USAF’s painful reaction to the UFO issue. The organisation started out its shadowy life as the 4602nd Air Intelligence Service Squadron (AISS) in January 1953, when Air Defence Command Regulation 24-4 created it for a wartime mission of exploiting downed enemy people, papers, and hardware. In March 1953, the decision was made to use the 4602nd AISS in UFO investigations and, by the end of December 1953, a working agreement existed between the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) and the new 4602nd AISS. In fact, all UFO reports were to go through the 4602d AISS prior to any transmission to Project Blue Book at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base – Project Blue Book being the publicly admitted UFO “investigative” desk, if you can call what they did as “investigations” that is. Anyway, in July 1957 the 4602nd, became the 1006th AISS, then in April 1960, it was reorganised as the 1127th FAG! Furthermore, through the years, these organisations ran the infamous “Project Moon Dust”, which many of you will know of. For those that do not, put simply, the original mission of Project Moon Dust, as stated by US Air Force Message #54322, dated December 23, 1957, was to “to collect and analyze raw intelligence reports from the field on fallen space debris and objects of unknown origin”.

Now, in regards to the publication I am discussing here, some half way through the document, we see the sub-heading “MOON DUST”. It goes on to read:

“Secret/No Foreign Dissem)  During the last half of 1967, the Operations Plans Branch (AFNIAAB) received from the 1st Aerospace Control Squadron (SPADATS) at Ent AFB, Colorado, notifications of the deorbit of 49 Soviet space objects (rocket bodies, payloads and space platforms), and of 17 US space objects considered to be of special importance.”

Below is an image of the page in question.



On the next page, a further 6 lines of text have been completely redacted, or, “blacked out”, by USAF declassification review authorities. The act of redacting certain lines of text, or even whole pages, is done when dedicated records management units review any wholly classified material. Such redactions are done under the guise of one or more of the the specific exemptions allowed which relate to national security. Considering the publication I am presenting here is from 1967, and we are now in 2015, one really wonders if such actions are even remotely necessary. Not all is lost though, for this special portion of the document goes on to finally say:

“Inspection by US authorities was precluded by the strained diplomatic relations which have resulted from the Arab/Israeli conflict, but AFNLAAB has received a report that a mission composed of 13 Soviet scientists and technicians did examine the object in October, 1967. No further details are available.”

Below is an image of this page.




Looking at the bigger picture, the only thing these obscure publications really prove is that there is more UFO-related, governmental (usually of military providence) record to be found. There must be dozens of under-utilised archives that contain significant, at least historically, material. None of this of course will solve the UFO matter. It will, however, fill in little parts of history, and, sometimes, lead us to more discoveries. 

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Possible "Foo Fighter" Documents Found For Australia?

Part 2

 

Just a few days ago I presented, in Part 1 of this new series, two hitherto unseen World War II intelligence messages which appeared to have been routed through Brisbane, Australia. Both messages related to aerial oddities that somewhat reminded me of the so-called “Foo Fighter” reports made during the latter half of WW2 in both the European and Asia-Pacific theatres. Whether the two intelligence messages I discussed actually relate to especially unusual events – as opposed to mere radar malfunction and enemy ordinance – will never been surely be known, but the very fact they exist is more than enough to look further into matter. Both messages were, as stated, routed through Brisbane; both messages contained summaries of events on Australia’s doorstep; and both messages were found in the United States – so one can only wonder how many similar records may exist in our own government archives! This is one of those situations where the information itself seems quite low level, but the potential for significant future discoveries is very high. Researcher Barry Greenwood is currently indexing nearly ten thousand pages of WW2 “Foo Fighter” records. The majority were donated to him by author Keith Chester who discovered them to aid the writing of his ground-breaking book “Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II”. It was he who furnished me with the “Brisbane” messages discussed in my Part 1 of this series. 

Barry has discovered another intelligence message which, again, was routed through Brisbane. Unfortunately, the contents elude to, I strongly suspect, sea mines or navigation buoys, but it sets the scene for hopefully bigger finds. The date and time of dissemination is entered as the 17th of September, at 7:43 Zulu. The core of the message states:

“No. A-1744, September 17, 1943. Signed Kenney. Yellow cylindrical objects queried in your 7846, dated 10 September, have not yet been recovered or examined. Nothing is yet known of them, but from all reports the following two patterns appear probable: six such cylinders reported on 5 September as 12 inch diameter and protruding 12 inches from possible anchored position located at regular intervals along six mile line running parallel to 150 degrees 20 seconds east and roughly straddling 7 degrees south. Second apparent pattern reported as nine yellow boxes size 18 inches by 18 inches protruding 12 inches, no references to anchorage, and were located approximately bisecting 7 degrees 30 south at angle of approximately 30 degrees from line 152 degrees 30 minutes east. No information actuation means, and efforts being made to locate, recover and examine for further knowledge. NOTE: Referance message 7846 is logged on page 51 of the current “OUT” log.

I have imaged this material below.


To reiterate, this content is merely an example of an Allied intelligence message that was disseminated from Australia, and involved events on our doorstep. Records like these point strongly to the possibility that far more material – some that will involve UFO activity – does exist. Also, the above mentioned message is one of two on the page. The other is a message disseminated from Algiers relating to air and sea transport. Nothing of interest to us in that, but, in a quirky co-incidence, one name is referenced that is very important regarding the early days of UFO investigation in the United States. The message states, in part:

“To AGWAR from Spaatz signed Eisenhower”.

“Spaatz” refers to General Carl Spaatz (ret), who was placed in overall command of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in the Europe during WW2. He was appointed as the first Chief of Staff of the new United States Air Force (USAF) in September, 1947, right in the midst of the infamous UFO wave of that year. History is yet to be written on how much Spaatz were appraised of the situation, but certainly those around him feature heavily in official UFO history.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Possible "Foo Fighter" Documents Found For Australia?

Part 1

 

“Foo-Fighters” – the strange, unidentified aerial phenomena witnessed by flight crews and ground forces during the latter half of WW2, still have yet to be fully understood. Witnessed over both the European and the Far East theatres, Foo-Fighters caused fits within military intelligence. Classified messages were exchanged between intelligence officers trying to fathom what kind of secret weapons were seemingly evidence in the skies over war zones. The most complete appraisal of this peculiar situation is author Keith Chester’s excellent book “Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II”, published by Anomalist Books in May, 2007. Chester visited the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC over a hundred times to locate a staggering eight thousand pages of records related to the Foo-Fighter phenomenon. Those records include mission reports, flak reports, intelligence summaries and messages, and general correspondence.  Prior to this, a relatively threadbare amount existed in the form of an assortment of articles, retrospective reports and recollections of former pilots and ground personnel.    

Chester, having moved on to other projects, donated his collection of assembled files to Barry Greenwood, who oversees a large archive of papers on unusual aerial events. This month, Barry commenced the gigantic task of creating and inventory of the entire eight thousand pages. On top of that, added to this will be records already compiled by sources like Project 1947, Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) and a host of work by researchers in the form of articles, letters, veterans newsletters and other ephemera.

While painstakingly going through these documents, Barry discovered two pages that contain information relating to Australia, which he immediately scanned and sent to me. Both contain short intelligence messages, originally carrying the security classification SECRET. And both have list “Brisbane” as a location for message routing or transmittal.

The first message has, “Brisbane 4845” on the left-hand side, with “1949Z  9/10/43” next to it. This equates to 7:49pm, ZULU time, on the 10th of September, 1943. The main part of the message states:

“No. 7846, September 10, 1943. To Kenney signed Arnold. Cylindrical yellow objects 3 by 6 feet have been reported in various locations in areas south of GASMATA. Also SOPAC area recently reported that similarly described objects exploded upon approach of aircraft. This reported by Com 7th Flt. Request all available information these objects and possible means of actuation.”

The right-hand column states:

“AIR ORD. OFFICER  Info copies to: Mat. Maint. & Dist. Chief of Supply & Serv. Air Ord. Officer.”

Being cautious not to assume “Brisbane”, and indeed the whole message, related to Australia, I did some background checks. There are very few locations on Earth called “Brisbane”, and those that are have no military history, let alone anything that could relate to the American war effort. Also, note that the message mentions the “Com 7th Flt”. This refers to the Commander of the United States Navy’s (USN) 7th Fleet. This is important because the 7th Fleet has always been based in Asia, and was a component of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet (USPACFLT). The most important piece of information is the reference “…south of GASMATA”. Gasmata is a village in Papua New Guinea which was briefly occupied by Japanese forces during World War II. In fact, a number of Australian soldiers were executed there in 1942 in what amounted to a war crime. So, there is no doubt that this information relates to activity in the Asia-Pacific Region, and one has to assume that “Brisbane” refers to a message relay station or intelligence support unit in the Queensland city of Brisbane in the 1940’s. Whether this was a US or Australian effort, I don’t know. The objects themselves, and the way they are cited in the message, may refer to nothing more than wartime ordinance, but judging by the fact that so many wartime oddities were diligently reported by servicemen – many of whom were skilled pilots and specialised intelligence gatherers – one can’t immediately brush aside the possibility that we could be looking at an early kind of UFO report here. If the objects reported were wartime hardware, another mystery begins: Japanese forces were not using rockets or missiles during WWII. No one was. So the description of “Cylindrical yellow objects 3 by 6 feet…” begs to be matched with something else. We’ll probably now never know. The page in question is imaged below.  



The next page of interest is, exactly like the first, a short intelligence message with “Brisbane” as on the far left-hand side, and “1618Z  9/29/43” listed for time and date. This equates 4:18 Zulu time, on the 29th of September, 1943. The information delivered in the message states:

“No. C-6161, Sept. 29, 1943. To AGWAR from CINC SWPA Signed MacArthur. Complete report on suspected attempts at radar countermeasures made reference your 8398 25th is being prepared and will be forwarded by air mail. Phenomenon possibly related to that observed in NEW GEORGIA has been recorded and will be described in detail. NOTE: WD Msg. 8398 was logged on page 115 of the current Out Log.”

On the right-hand side it is stated:

“OPN. COMMIT. & REQ. (AIR COMMUNICATION DIV.)  (Lt. Casey - 74170) Info. Copies to: Air Defense Branch”

This is interesting not so much for the “phenomenon” mentioned, as it is, other than being a radar issue, too vague. What stands out is the reference to “CINC SWPA” which in WWII stood for “Commander-in-Chief South West Pacific Area”. The SWPA was the name given to the supreme-echelon Allied military command, which included Australia and Australian territory. “Signed MacArthur” certainly refers to General Douglas MacArthur, who was the Supreme Commander of the SWPA in 1943.  “New Georgia” is one of the largest islands of the Solomon’s, and featured heavily in American battle efforts against the occupying Japanese. All these clues leave no doubt that this message was created due to wartime activity on Australia’s doorstep. Also, there are two lines of text which imply more records existed regarding this event: “WD Msg. 8398 was logged on page 115 of the current Out Log” and “Complete report on suspected…”. While we have no idea if this intelligence material relates to unusual aerial activity or something duller, it was obviously ongoing. What is meant by “Phenomenon possibly related to that observed in New Georgia”?  The image of this document is presented below.


It is only my speculation that the above messages relate to something highly unusual. More likely they are just part of wartime nerves, radar malfunction or enemy ordinance. What these records do show us is that WW2 records exist, that relate to Australia, at least in American archives, which may contain more detailed oddies. In fact, hundreds of boxes of unopened World War Two records remain to be seen, and are stored at least two facilities in Washington D.C. They are still unavailable for study by the outside world. For Australia, the National Archives of Australia (NAA), plus the Australian War Memorial, hold hundreds of thousands of pages of Australian WW2 files. I have started looking at the many commands and divisions of the Australian Armed Forces, plus other areas, like the old Department of External Affairs, to identify which bodies were responsible for air defence, coastal surveillance, mission assessment, bombing raid activity, etc in the hope of finding where UFO events were reported, studied and filed. It is not enough to simply say “Well, that would be the Royal Australian Air Force, or the Navy!...”. Any fool can do that. Moreover, the other real key is to determine what type of records were kept after the war. There is no point, for example, feverishly trying to locate Royal Australian Navy (RAN) flight crew debriefing records if they were all shredded two generations ago. This will be a huge task, and certainly too cumbersome, initially, for one person (me). What I need is a military historian on side. 

          And now we come full circle. Back in Boston, there sits Barry Greenwood, stuck in his house doing all this sort of work, plus helping everyone else. To be sure, there are very few researchers on Earth who are committed to collecting, indexing, scanning and preserving information on this scale. “Strange Company” author Keith Chester recently wrote on his Facebook timeline:

“Barry is one of only a few in the United States –  if not the only – who has amassed a huge collection of newspaper and magazine articles, private researcher’s files, and official government and military documentation. It is a tremendous collection that rivals any university library or national archives. Barry is considered one of the foremost authorities on the subject of aerial phenomena and works primarily behind the scenes. It was my intention to publish Strange Company as a primer for others to build upon. I could not think of any other individual who could handle and utilize my files like Barry, giving serious future researchers access to the best material available, and to expand upon my own research. Thank you, Barry!”

If anyone is interested in Foo Fighters and UAP/UFO during WW2, the blurb on the back of “Strange Company” reads:

“Mankind had reached a threshold in the forth decade of the twentieth century. There were unprecedented scientific and technological achievements, but despite such progress, humanity was entering one of its darkest chapters. World War II would grip the world with terror for six years. During that time military personnel reported seeing numerous highly unconventional aircraft in all theaters of operation. These objects had extraordinary flight performance capabilities, came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and were able to travel at extraordinary speeds and avoid radar detection. "Strange Company" is the first in-depth account of unconventional aircraft observed and reported by the military during World War II. It includes the reactions by military commands, their viewpoints, and theories as they struggled to make sense of the observations. Strange Company presents one of the greatest wartime mysteries, one that has been shrouded in ignorance for more than sixty years. And it suggests that while an immense twentieth century war was raging on Earth, there appeared to be someone, or something, from somewhere else, watching us.”

I have imaged a copy of the book opened below.