Conspiracy Theories and The Erosion of National Security

Hi all,

The truth is stranger than fiction. I’m going to make a point and I’m going to use one of the wildest conspiracy theories out there to make it: the idea that UFOs exist and that they are spying on us. Indeed, that they are spying on nuclear weapons facilities around the globe as if a preface to global invasion. Good stuff, but let’s read between the lines and I think the truth might be in there somewhere. Something is going on, but it’s not what some think. Call me a skeptic, but first we need to explain what that word means, which takes me right to my point.

First, the term “skeptic” is confusing in the UFO research arena. Apparently, those that hold the orthodox view that UFOs do not exist seem to view themselves as “skeptics”. This was a bit confusing to me at first but it’s only a matter of semantics. Or is it? I think it is more accurate to call those that challenge the orthodox opinion to be skeptics, not the reverse. For the view that UFOs are real is a heterodox opinion and, by definition, skeptical of the orthodox view.

Having said this, most attempts by the orthodoxy to refute UFO evidence seems to revolve around a style that is frustrating to read and research: most attempts to “debunk” seem to be tomes of Ignoratio elenchi (basically, making arguments that are cleverly irrelevant to the presenting claim). And that itself gives the appearance of dishonesty. Whether it is honest or not, those that make these arguments should consider this in their analysis because it is a source of considerable suspicion for most readers. One of the common tools used in this approach, among many others, is the tendency to over-emphasize things like witness credibility, particularly the credibility of the researcher themselves. For if the researcher can be found to be dishonest or misleading (or just crazy), then it is assumed that everything they say or claim is false.  Ironically, this is the same approach used in Western law and it has been shown in numerous psychological studies to be fallacious. This is because there are two types of “believers”; those that are charlatans and do not in fact believe and those who engage in wishful thinking but still believe the over-arching premise. And for most researchers who reach heterodox conclusions the latter is more common. It’s the age-old fallacy of throwing the baby out with the bath water without realizing that while some parts of a person’s research may be fallacious or faulty, that does not, by itself, imply that all of it is. The astute researcher has to know how to sort this out.

But what many orthodox researchers do, once they find any fault or error in an analysis, is engage in an argument of Ignoratio elenchi by focusing only on the matters of credibility, not the actual claims being made. Thus they spend volumes discussing tangential factors to the overall story that, by themselves, have nothing to do with the truth or falsity of the over-arching claim. That is not to say that credibility has no place: if one finds that, for example, the so-called “Majestic 12” documents originated from U.S. Air Force counter-intelligence agents (Special Agent Richard Doty, to be precise), then it can be safely assumed that any document referencing Majestic 12 is probably a fabrication. That is a credibility assessment. But what makes it germane and different than broad, context-void assessments of credibility, is the fact that it is contextually relevant. On the other hand, suggesting that Robert Hastings, who researches odd events at nuclear weapons facilities, has deliberately fudged facts about one incident at one location, say, in 1967 or 1968, does not by itself provide sufficient evidence to “debunk” evidence that exists for the same kind of phenomenon at another site in 1975, whether that evidence originated with Hastings or someone else. Critical analysis just isn’t that simple and explanations that try to do this are catch-penny arguments used to appeal to human bias and prejudices; namely those having to do with people’s natural tendency to disbelieve anything that comes from a source that has been dishonest at some point in the past. This is the same reason why a known and admitted prostitute on the witness stand is not guaranteed to lie for any and all questions posed to her. It just isn’t that simple. And what we are doing here has nothing to do with trying an individual; we are seeking confirmation of facts and assertions that may or may not be independent of that witness.

Two excellent examples of deceptive “debunking” are the Air Force “Case Closed” report of 1995 and the internet article by James Carlson found at http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/2011/12/by-their-works-shall-ye-know-them-part-1/. In the case of the Air Force an attempt to debunk the skeptical claims about the official narrative of the Roswell incident of 1947 was proffered in 1994 and 1995 when the Air Force changed its official story of it being due to weather balloons to a claim that it was due to something called project Mogul. This tells us, implicitly but loudly, that the Air Force was engaged in counter-intelligence when it lied about the weather balloons. Forgetting for the moment that germane questions of credibility about the Mogul claim are thus obvious, the Air Force spent almost all of its report talking about project Mogul. It was basically a history lession about Mogul. But that is really not relevant to the skeptical claim. And sure enough, the explanation was riddled with problems. There were crash dummies employed in 1947 that didn’t exist until 1952, the Ramey memo in which it can clearly be seen by any modern computer user to have referenced “victims of the wreck”, and so on. Thus, given that we know that disinformation was the source of the weather balloon explanation, and given the obvious application of Ignoratio elenchi in its 1995 Mogul diatribe, it is no wonder the American public doesn’t believe it. That USG can’t see this is astonishing but reinforces the view that they are out of touch with the public.

In a similar way, Carlson makes an elaborate argument that the 1967 and 1968 phenomenon at one missile base was, at best, wishful thinking of a skeptic named Robert Hastings. Once the “gotcha” was in place, it was then assumed by character assassination that all the other events must be of a similar nature. It was an exercise in Ignoratio elenchi.

And this is why these kinds of analyses are a turn-off for most readers. Most readers see this as a personal attack on a person rather than an honest pursuit of truth. That Establishment figures in government, who do the same thing, have not apparently noticed this is astonshing but it shows how out of touch they are with everyday people. If there were ever a sign of elitism sticking out like a sore thumb, this is it. Thus, in order to examine the Hastings research, we need to examine each case of purported tampering at each base on each date and ask only the questions of merit:

1.)  Who actually witnessed the visible phenomenon? Are their names known to us? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? What have they said? What written or electronic data is available to corroborate it? Where is it? Can we see it? Is it clear and convincing?

2.)  What witnesses can report on the radar data? Have they also been identified? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? Do records of these radar sweeps exist? Can we see them? Is it clear and convincing that solid objects were present?

3.)  What failure mode, if any, was witnessed and who witnessed this? Have they been identified? What is the chain through which this information reaches us now? Did anything actually fail? What was the nature of the failure? What records exist to corroborate this failure? Is it clear and convincing that a failure mode without prosaic explanation occurred? (classified aspects of their operation can still be protected by a careful review of how the systems are explained – we don’t need to know how they work).

4.)  Does the movement of objects, if established as above, correlate well between visual sightings and radar tracks? Does it appear to be intelligently directed as a response or anticipation of human behavior? Time, location and altitude are critical here.

We don’t need diatribes and tomes of personal attacks, tangential information and digressions of Ignoratio elenchi to resolve this. We need data.

The global public is becoming more and more sophisticated in their understanding of geopolitics and disinformation. They more easily recognize it and its common attendants, such as catch-penny reasoning, Ignoratio elenchi, the role of greed and money and the extremes to which power corrupts. It’s time for USG to catch up.

Virtually every government “investigation” and every “debunker” out there has done nothing to address the four questions that could be equally applied, in different form, to just about any “conspiracy theory”. And the field is chock-full of charlatans and fairy tales that can be easily discounted with a modicum of background research into the provenance of documents and the nature of the claims by simply applying the questions above, even if they cannot be fully answered. There is truth between the lies.

I would submit that USG should rethink the way it approaches conspiracy theories by avoiding catchpenny silliness and responding to them directly and in a hyper focused manner by releasing data specific to the claims of merit because the tactic they’ve been using, since at least 1947, is itself becoming a National Security issue because of the distrust in government it has caused. And Popular Mechanics commentary – which most who have two brain cells to put together know this to be a USG shill – in their replies isn’t needed. Just the relevant data. They need to do this with the Kennedy assassination, 911, UFOs and anything else of popular lore. Sadly, I’m afraid their hubris is too inflated now to ever do that, but for my part, I’ve illuminated the path. Listen to me now, hear me later.

– kk

P.S. Watch how disinformation works. Everybody is focused on Edward Snowden. But is that really the story? How about the fact that his revelations have confirmed that you are being watched, Orwell-style? All the way down to your Safeway discount card application and purchasing data. Yep, that’s right. Go read what he actually handed over to the journalist that reported it. Google is your friend.

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7 comments
  1. Your implication that the arguments I’ve raised are primarily the result of character assassination ignores entirely the very many outright, proven lies that Robert Hastings has resorted to in order to make a case that absolutely reeks of dishonesty. I invite you to examine the ALL of the evidence available. If you’re honestly interested in proven facts, and not mere demagoguery, you might try examining the numerous articles posted at Reality Uncovered. They are quite detailed in regard to the very matters you’ve raised in your otherwise interesting article.

  2. ” ignores entirely the very many outright, proven lies that Robert Hastings has resorted to in order to make a case that absolutely reeks of dishonesty”

    Guilty. I don’t care about Robert Hastings. That was the point of the article.

    “… responding to them directly and in a hyper focused manner by releasing data specific to the claims of merit”

    That’s what people want, imo. I’d start by respectfully posing the question to you: what about the FOIA documents (which are of known provenance) that corroborate much of what is claimed by the Hastings witnesses; specifically, that corroborate the claims of merit? These are, I understand, statements recorded contemporaneously that clearly indicate something inexplicable occurred. No? Are you sure?

    – kk

  3. BTW,

    “and not mere demagoguery”

    What does _that_ mean? You seem to be implying that I’m being a demagogue by demanding the facts of merit. Hardly. It’s a simple request.

    – kk

    • It’s been my experience that whenever the arguments and conclusions that I’ve reached within the context of UFOlogy have been attacked, it has invariably been an attack that tends to ignore the primary character of the arguments I’ve worked very hard to publicize. Your article above has completely ignored all of the “facts of merit” that I’ve published. I have discussed in great detail not only my own conclusions in regard to the Malmstrom AFB incidents of March 1967, but the conclusions and memories of the only actual witnesses to these same events. I have done so without once mentioning any of the events that occurred in 1975, and I am, in fact, ignorant of nearly every aspect of those 1975 claims. I have nothing at all to add to any such conversation.

      You have written that I am deceptive in my analysis and assessments of one UFO case, and then discuss in some detail a case that I have never examined. You eventually conclude that the elaborate “argument” I’ve constructed in regard to those Malmstrom AFB incidents in 1967 is “at best, wishful thinking of a skeptic named Robert Hastings”, and that I used this “gotcha” to assume a position of allowing “character assassination”, but you neglect to mention that I have published the numerous claims of the only witnesses to these events, including their own insistence that Robert Hastings has repeatedly lied and distorted their claims to support a UFO incident that never occurred. The testimony that these men have contributed meets ine very way the character of the “questions of merit” you outline later in your article. You ignored them completely, as well as the many arguments of merit that I have also contributed.

      You discuss my assertions as mere “character assassination” yet neglect the fact that nothing I’ve said is untrue.

      You also neglect to mention that Hastings has very often relied on the craven use of blatant lies and baseless insults in regard to his critics without once managing to refute or even discuss their criticisms. Hastings has even gone so far as to invent entirely the titles and alleged contents of various non-existent books relating epilepsy to paranoia and mental illness in order to suggest that I should not be trusted because I have been afflicted with epilepsy. Incredibly, he has also publically defamed me by insisting that my father (who was the commander of Echo Flight on the date of an alleged UFO sighting that never occurred) supposedly “told him” about a nervous breakdown that has apparently been an ongoing crisis in my family for over three years! All of this has also been repeatedly denied by my father, so you are essentially ignoring the attacks authored by Hastings that are 100% untrue in order to criticize the comments I have made that are true.

      You have neglected to mention that Hastings routinely refuses to answer necessary questions regarding his own numerous, proven lies, and has neglected as well to defend his own theories against numerous accusations of massive fraud and profiteering on a scale UFO proponent communities have only rarely been subjected to — all of which points I can and have supported in fact.

      I have published over 80 pages of FOIA documents to support my claims while Robert Hastings has presented no documentation whatsoever and has chosen to remain silent on the contents of those documents. The point is you have made suggestions and reached conclusions that can not be supported, and you did so whilst ignoring nearly every issue that I’ve painstakingly applied to these matters, and you did it by supporting the claims of a man who has presented no real evidence, and has repeatedly lied about the testimony he has presented — a charge supported by the very men who presented that testimony to him.

      In any case, I used the word “demagoguery” to indicate the commonality of those who have attacked the claims I’ve established. Most such attacks raise few valid points and address none of the most important issues I’ve raised, including amongst them the blatant dishonesty adopted as a strategy by Robert Hastings, a man who repeatedly attacks the credibility of his critics while ignoring in full the evidence they have presented.

      No offense is intended — it’s merely an observation.

      • You wrote:

        “You also neglect to mention that Hastings has very often relied on the craven use of blatant lies and baseless insults in regard to his critics without once managing to refute or even discuss their criticisms.”

        I sense that this is a personal matter for you, since you keep referring to the person, and not the facts. If so, it will undermine your objectivity.

        “I have published over 80 pages of FOIA documents to support my claims while Robert Hastings has presented no documentation whatsoever and has chosen to remain silent on the contents of those documents”

        Hastings provided no documents? Really? Are you sure? Did you check his website?

        “I have nothing at all to add to any such conversation.”

        But that’s the problem, right? All of those incidents are relevant to the question of merit, which is what is the likely cause of these events, if they are likely to have occurred at all. If they are found to be repeated in several places at several different times, it increases the odds that something did indeed occur.

        Let me just recast those same questions by referencing them here. I posed 4 questions. Can you answer them?

        “In any case, I used the word “demagoguery” to indicate the commonality of those who have attacked the claims I’ve established”.

        As for being a demagogue, I think you’ve misread my post entirely, or I should at least say that my post doesn’t follow the pattern you speak of. If I think your posts are Ignoratio elenchi, it does not follow that this observation is demagoguery. It’s just an observation. I’ve simply posed 4 questions for you, Hastings or anyone else to answer and have suggested that, as your own posts prove, few if any are really engaging those questions. And those questions are really what people care about, I should think.

        Constructive, honest conversation requires that when one makes a point or poses a question, the other is obligated to respond to it. Otherwise, it isn’t constructive. And this process repeats back and forth. At this point, the 4 questions still stand. I look forward to an on-topic response.

        – kk

  4. James Carlson said:

    I was wondering whether or not you were going to print my response to the points you’ve raised above, or were simply going to leave them in moderation, thereby making it look as if I have no response, even though I sent you a very thorough and detailed reply, answering each and every point you raised while offering as well URLs to numerous resources so that you and/or your readers could examine the original source materials should you wish to do so. After all, as you once put it, “Constructive, honest conversation requires that when one makes a point or poses a question, the other is obligated to respond to it. Otherwise, it isn’t constructive. And this process repeats back and forth.” I’ve answered your 4 questions, and I’ve responded as well to every other issue you’ve raised in regard to my work and Robert Hastings’. All of my responses were also “on-topic,” as you requested. Should I expect yours to possess the same quality, or have you decided that this conversation for some reason not yet divulged can no longer retain those above-mentioned characteristics of constructive honesty?

    Most sincerely,
    James Carlson

  5. I suspected as much. You ask a series of questions, and then delete my detailed answers, thereby giving a false impression that I have no no such answers. Now there’s a fair-minded approach .. many thanks. During this entire discussion, I responded to every point you raised, and although I disagreed with your conclusions, I nonetheless respected you and your assessments. This strategy, however, sends a very simple message regarding your intent, and it no longer deserves respect or consideration. On that note, please accept my apologies for wasting your time — I won’t bother you any more.

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