Exopolitics: The Men in Gray 

July 6, 2005
Stephen Bassett

Activism and advocacy take many forms such as the raised fist, marching feet, candlelight vigil, silent witness (the good); the dynamite belt, assassin’s gun (the bad); a burning flag, bucket of blood, flaming cross (the ugly). But behind all of these symbolic forms, and always in the culmination, are words, and words matter.

During the nearly ten years since I entered the realm of extraterrestrial-related phenomena research/activism I have placed special emphasis on assisting the development of new language which appropriately conveys the tenor, substance and history of the paradigm shift underway. While it appears clumsy now, the “politics of UFOs” seemed like progress a decade ago. Soon the word “disclosure” began to take hold and then the phrase “politics of disclosure.” Disclosure is now a critical term in the emerging lexicon.

And, of course, in 2000 (and appropriately so) the term “exopolitics” sprung forth from the work of Alfred L. Webre. It has been picked up by many others, most notably Dr. Michael Salla, and moves assuredly toward formal acceptance by the world’s dictionaries. Exopolitics is the over arching term for the political engagement of extraterrestrial-related phenomena and extraterrestrial beings by governments and people. Disclosure and the politics of disclosure are but items within this vast field of study that began many thousands of years ago when humans first noted the presence of off world beings and/or craft in their world.

I want to introduce a new metaphor and a new phrase to help those trying to understand the transition now underway. It is quite possible I will torture this metaphor and apologize for that in advance.

Consider the “capacitor,” a useful electrical device a very nice teacher tried to explain to you oh so many years ago in a high school science class. Some of you slept through that class.  Others of you can make capacitors sing and dance. Here’s a basic definition:

a device that stores energy in the electric field created between a pair of conductors on which equal but opposite electric charges have been placed. Capacitors typically have thin conducting plates (usually made of metal), separated by a layer of insulating dielectric material. A dielectric material is a substance that is a poor conductor of electricity, but an efficient supporter of electrostatic fields. If the flow of current between opposite electrically charged plates is kept to a minimum while the electrostatic lines of flux are not impeded or interrupted, an electrostatic field can store energy.

Here’s a simple diagram:

Two things to know. The dielectric prevents the immediate discharge from one plate to another but allows some charge to transfer – a good thing. If you build up too much charge on the plates, the stress on the dielectric can become so great it will literally explode and a catastrophic discharge will take place – a bad thing.

Now comes the metaphor. [Note: there is a nice little irony to this metaphor. See if you can see it coming. Answer at the end.]

Consider the disclosure event (formal acknowledgement of the extraterrestrial presence by the world’s governments) as a jump (discharge) from one paradigm to another paradigm – the standing world view to a new world view. Think of the old paradigm and the new paradigm as the two plates of a capacitor. If it is not considered desirable for this jump to happen suddenly, then there needs to be a dielectric between the two paradigms (plates).  What is that dielectric?

Answer:  the Men in Gray – MIGS. There are very few “Women in Gray” for well understood reasons. These few are, of course, called WIGS.

This concept can be helpful, and once again words matter.  It is important that you clearly understand what Men in Gray (or Women in Gray) means in this context. The definition is intended to be precise:

Men (Women) in Gray are persons who are working or have worked in government service (elected or appointed officials, military and agency employees) and are engaging extraterrestrial-related phenomena and exopolitics in the public arena in any form or fashion.

It doesn’t matter how they engage these issues, what they believe, what there motives are or when they entered the public arena.  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of such men and the paradigm shift that will inevitably take place with the disclosure event could not, would not and probably should not happen without them.

Over the past five decades there has been great debate and study of such men. Many assertions and accusations have been made. There has been confusion, paranoia and misunderstanding. This is no different from other complex historical processes, and in the long run, such Sturm und Drang will be of secondary importance.

Men in Gray cover a broad spectrum of involvement with these issues.  Some are simply witnesses to events and evidence. Some are paid operatives charged to observe or impede or disrupt or disinform. Some may well be paid to assist the truth process and some are completely independent in their actions. Some are carrying out their obligations as elected officials.  Some are researchers deeply involved in specific areas of study. They have divergent motives and views. What they have in common is the definition above.

What is important to understand is that the presence in the public arena of the Men in Gray with their diverging impact acts in the collective as the dielectric buffer between the two paradigms and prevents the paradigm shift from happening too violently, too suddenly, and perhaps too soon, while still allowing the historical process to move forward.

Who are the Men in Gray? Here are but a few. If you are knowledgeable of the history of the field since 1947 you will immediately see the complexity and diversity of impact on the issues of these men (and two women).

Art Bell (Air Force) Graham Bethune (Air Force) Michael Smith (Air Force)
Bruce Maccabee (Naval Labs) J. Allen Hynek (Air Force Contract) Nick Pope (British Defense Ministry)
Carl Sagan (Government contract) James Kopf (Navy) Philip Corso (Army)
Charles Brown (Air Force) James Oberg (Air Force, NASA) Richard Doty (AFOSI)
Charles Hall (Army) Jesse Marcel (Army) Richard Haines (NASA)
Chuck Sorrells (Air Force) Jesse Marcel, Jr. (Army Reserve) Richard Hall (Air Force)
Clark McClelland (NASA) John Alexander (Army intelligence) Robert Collins (Air Force)
Clifford Stone (Army) John Brandenburg (NASA) Robert Dean (Army)
Derrel Sims (CIA) John Callahan (FAA) Robert Jacobs (Air Force)
Don Phillips (Air Force, CIA) John Lear (CIA Contract) Robert Salas (Air Force)
Donald Keyhoe (Army) John Maynard (DIA) Robert Walker (Army)
Donald Menzel (CIA) John Podesta (Executive appointee) Robert Wood (Defense Contractor)
Donald Ware (Air Force) John Schuessler (NASA) Ron Pandolfe (CIA)
Donna Hare (NASA) – WIG John Williams (Air Force) Roscoe Hillenkoetter (Navy)
Dwynne Arneson (Air Force) Karl Wolfe (Air Force) Ross Diedrickson (Air Force)
Ed Fuche (Air Force) Kevin Randle (Army, Air Force) Steven Schiff (Congress)
Edgar Mitchell (Air Force, NASA) Larry Bryant (Army) Stoney Campbell (Air Force)
Frederick Fox (Navy) Larry Warren (Air Force) Walter Andrus (Navy)
George Filer (Air Force) Lord Hill-Norton (British Navy) Wendelle Stevens (Air Force)
Gerald Ford (Congress) Lori Rehfeldt (Air Force) – WIG William Cooper (Air Force, Navy)
Gordon Cooper (Air Force, NASA) Merle Shane McDow (Navy) William Hamilton (Air Force)


Many more could be added and many others operated in the public arena, but are unknown.  It is instructive to note that the list includes Roscoe Hillenkoetter and Donald Menzel, but not Vannevar Bush.   Hillenkoetter entered the public arena when he became a member of the NICAP Board of Directors. Menzel entered the public arena when he debunked the UFO phenomena in books and statements.  Bush confined his involvement within his duties in government and did not enter the public arena.

The study and engagement of UFO/ET phenomena has from the beginning had at its center former and active government employees. Many of these have engaged the issue in a public way.   They are the dielectric that insulates the two paradigms.

They were an essential and required buffer, whether intentional or circumstantial, to prevent the catastrophic discharge of the greatest world view change in human history before it was time. Some opposed the process of disclosure and some encouraged it. Some acted on behalf of the government and others in their own interests.  It is not unreasonable to believe that with few exceptions they did what they thought was right.

Now I’ll answer the obvious question, “Isn’t everyone who touches this issue part of the dielectric regardless of their background.  Yes, of course. But the history and circumstance of the transition underway since the late 1940’s clearly shows that former and active government employees are the critical component.

But this dielectric metaphor is made up of sentient beings who can alter their orientation. What you can expect to see in the immediate future is a shift of that orientation toward disclosure as well as the addition of new MIGs so disposed. Let the historians sort out the details and focus on the prize. That prize is the end to the truth embargo, and the sooner the better.

* The irony? The capacitor in micro form is a major component of the integrated circuit which is part of the foundation of the modern world.   It was publicly reported that advanced concepts related to such technology and derived from extraterrestrial sources were provided to private companies to benefit the nation – reported by Lt. Col. Philip Corso – a quintessential Man in Gray.

Exopolitics:  Was Seeing Believing?

February 11, 2005
Stephen Bassett

Laughlin, NV – Peter Jennings, the last anchor standing, instructed his company, PJ Productions, in 2004 to create a documentary (really news special) on what he would call UFOs and I would call extraterrestrial-related phenomena. Actually, the original focus was “extraterrestrial life,” and to their credit they refocused onto the phenomena being examined by thousands of researchers and activists since 1947. Eventually it was titled Peter Jennings Reporting UFOs: Seeing is Believing and aired on February 24, 2005 for two hours in opposition to Survivor, The OC and The Apprentice – three of the highest rated programs on network television. It was sweeps week. The irony of this special about a reality the government of the United States still denies airing against “reality” programs selling a contrived reality to a public which increasingly can’t tell the difference, was difficult to miss.

And so it was that ABC News made its first significant contribution in many decades to the issues this magazine presents. There had been a few guest appearances on Nightline by a researcher here and there (Bruce Maccabee, Stanton Friedman). There was the legendary Disney generated documentary in 1995, but this was not associated with the formidable news division. And, of course, how can we forget the infamous March 30, 1997 appearance  by Lee – I made it all up, but I’m a science fiction writer, that’s what I do – Shargel on This Week with David Brinkley?

It was the 21st Century, government witnesses were emerging from every direction, disks (daylight and nighttime) had been seen and video recorded all over Mexico, press briefings were taking place at the National Press Club, polls were returning 50% positive responses on ET presence (and 80% negative responses as to government veracity on the subject), huge and slow moving black triangles were being seen all over the world, former French government officials (COMETA) had issued a report calling for the United States to stop stalling a proper investigation and exposition of the known facts, the UK government was dumping classified documents into the public domain, Laurance Rockefeller had tried to convince Bill Clinton to be the “disclosure president,” Hollywood was cranking out movies and television series with one kind of extraterrestrial or another in leading roles. The 10-hour series, Taken, was notable. War of the Worlds is up next. Who could blame the ABC television network from wanting to climb on board?  The saucer was leaving the space port.

If you think ABC and Peter Jennings just learned there were unusual objects in the sky and jumped on a story, think again.   Here are some things you didn’t know.  More awareness effort has been directed at the ABC News division than all the other networks combined, including Fox (to its credit, Fox has been responsive). Paradigm Research Group, the Disclosure Project and others have approached ABC News repeatedly over the past 15 years. Much of this was aimed at Nightline with Ted Koppel.   I met with producers at Nightline; passed on information, books (Day after Roswell), tapes (Out of the Blue); made offers to set up meetings with government witnesses; sent dozens of press releases; and more. Dr. Steven Greer met with top ABC News producers on several occasions.

Immediately after the May 9, 2001 Disclosure Project press conference at the National Press Club was completed, the 4-hour video compilation of witness testimony was walked directly over to Ted Koppel’s office. He was given the tape, viewed a portion and was asked to consider program segments with these witnesses. That night I received a phone call from my contact requesting the names of six of the best witnesses for ABC News to check out for possible guest appearances. This request was passed on to Dr. Greer. Six witnesses were selected and passed back to ABC News.

In time I learned the first witness selected for vetting was retired FAA administrator John Callahan, witness to the events surrounding the 1986 Japan Airlines flight 1628 sighting over Alaska. It was the late summer of 2001, seven months into a new Republican administration badly in need of a legacy building issue, and it was difficult to suppress a rising expectation of a media breakthrough.   On September 11 this optimism, the witness vetting process and any media momentum collapsed upon itself like the towers in New York.

During the intervening years it has not been easy to insert the issues of exopolitics and extraterrestrial-related phenomena into the political arena. But the issues surrounding extraterrestrial-related phenomena haven’t gone away for many reasons, not the least of which being because the extraterrestrials haven’t gone away.  Sightings continued unabated, public awareness continued to grow and countries other than the United States engaged the issues, i.e. Mexico, India and the United Kingdom.

Peter Jennings did not produce and present a documentary to his network about extraterrestrial-related phenomena for a few ratings points. They did the special because they are behind the curve on this issue and they know it. They are playing catch up with Fox New and the Discovery, TLC, History and A&E cable channels and they know it. That said, the people, evidence and theories pertaining to this subject are still confined to an intellectual ghetto fostered by a government which still declares there is no there there. What to do?  They ran it right down the middle with no small amount of skill.

Here is a simple exopolitical assessment of the Peter Jennings UFO special. The first hour was a nice present to the UFO/ET research/activist community. The fundamental question of unresolved anomalous phenomena was reinforced. Government incompetence (though not government conspiracy to hide) was charged. A call for more investigation was made. Intelligent and fair representations of unusual sightings, witnesses and researchers were made. The skeptibunkers’ usual silly counter explanations were given without enhancement or endorsement. What was not to like about that hour of prime time?

The second hour was a present to the government of the United States and the corporate defense contractors (some of which own major media entities) still faced with the daunting problem of ending a 57-year truth embargo and coming out looking good on the other side of disclosure. Three things were accomplished during this hour, which were quite significant.  First they tied the matter of a government “cover-up” to Roswell.  Second, they debunked Roswell with prejudice. It was quite remarkable. Peter Jennings suddenly lost all objectivity and pronounced Roswell a myth. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Roswell was myth, and by extension the idea of a government “cover-up” was myth.  Peter says so.  Wow!  Third, they attempted to shape the public perception of the contact/abduction issue by pitting Budd Hopkins, the “artist,” against skeptical Harvard University professors while leaving out Harvard trained and connected researcher, the late Dr. John Mack, and Temple University associate professor David Jacobs.*  Why did they do this?

I have no idea. Just kidding.  Here, in my opinion, is why they took this approach. The following two points are absolutely critical to understanding the government dilemma and past actions. First, the inside management group (MJ-12, Council of the Majority, whatever they’re called) have always considered Roswell the greatest threat to the truth embargo. That is why they have invested so much effort to counter the developing public awareness. They moved to block Congressman Steven Schiff, backed and published two books, publicly put forward three different explanations, held a press conference at the Pentagon to announce one of these explanations (it was so silly even the Pentagon reporters laughed it off), and more.  Outside of Roswell the government position is “what ETs” and “go away.”

Second, the matter of abductions, whether conducted by extraterrestrials or military, is THE most explosive exopolitical issue.  It is a huge public relations (and possibly legal) problem embedded in any disclosure scenario.

ABC News put the government on notice. The message was this:  this is news, and it is no longer possible to pretend otherwise; we are putting you on notice we are going to do more specials on this subject; we are giving you some maneuvering room.

ABC got twice the viewing audience it normally gets for that competitive time slot. In a weaker slot the audience might have exceeded 20 million. You can bet your Roswell souvenirs the other networks took notice. The business of America is business.


* Budd Hopkins has been treated this way before, and I truly hope Budd hangs around long enough to receive an apology from everyone who owes him one – not a small number.

Relevant Web links:

Disney’s 1995 Documentary: www.hedweb.com/markp/disney.htm
JAL 1628 Sighting (1986): www.ufoevidence.org/topics/JALalaska.htm
Peter Jennings Reporting UFOs:  www.abcnews.go.com/Technology/Primetime/story?id=468496
Pentagon Roswell Briefing (6/24/97): www.defense.gov/transcripts/1997/t06241997_t0624asd.html
Disclosure Project NPC Press Conference:  www.disclosureproject.org/npcwebcast.htm

Exopolitics: Those Pesky Myths, Misperceptions and Misunderstandings

December 24, 2004
Stephen Bassett

Hello, 2005, the 58th year of the extraterrestrial-related phenomena truth embargo. I was born in December of 1946.  By then the cover-up, as some prefer to call it, was already underway.  While July of 1947 serves nicely as a formal beginning of this policy, there had been sightings during and just after the war. Thus, the truth embargo completely encapsulates my life. What a long strange trip…………

Fortunately the frustration and anticipation which accompanies this issue like few others, somewhat in the fashion of Lt. Dunbar’s approach to life in Catch 22, makes the passage of time seem sooooo much slower.  How long can this go on?  Should I take out a 401(k)?   The prize, disclosure, hangs out there in the hazy future, both inevitable and unreachable at the same time.

It would help to move things along if all of the myths, misperceptions and misunderstandings could be cleared up. Let’s start off the New Year by taking a look at three examples.

The Great Halloween Fiasco of ‘38

On the eve of Halloween, October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the Air performed a radio play version of H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. It was postured as a “real” news broadcast and immediately entered the realm of myth and legend.  While there were disclaimers provided, many of the listening public were dial-hopping back and forth from another popular show, the Chase and Sanborn Hour, thought the broadcast was real and proceeded to panic in various and sometimes creative ways.

The Welles fiasco remains just an interesting footnote in history if it doesn’t get caught up in exopolitical matters, namely the truth embargo. In time the War of the Worlds panic becomes a touchstone for those who wish to make the case the human race “can’t handle the truth.”  If you are reading UFO Magazine, you know the issues and have heard this non sequitur repeated many times. It’s baloney.

Here is the ironic but proper inference that should have been taken from the “panic of 1938.” It is not that humans, when confronted with the idea of an extraterrestrial presence, hostile or otherwise, go to pieces. The panic which ensued was unpleasant but hardly rose to the level of the Coconut Grove fire. That was panic.  Given how little exposure Americans had had to the extraterrestrial hypothesis by 1938, the reaction was not exceptional.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument people got upset, and that was bad. Here is the inference which should have been drawn: when an institution of public trust (a major radio network) completely fabricates a false and scary scenario, people get upset. The message of 1938 is not people can’t handle the truth, but rather people can be misled into inappropriate response by elaborate lies. October 30, 1938 does not support a cover-up, it supports disclosure.

The Brookings Report

Ah, the Proposed Studies of the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs, the Brookings Report, what would a truth embargo have done without this fine tome commissioned by NASA’s Committee on Long Range Studies from the Brookings Institution in 1960.  Quite a few people in and out of government have used a few sections of this report to justify taking a passive approach to the disclosure process. Such an interpretation is a profound misconception. Take a moment and read the exact material in the private report which did not become generally known until the early 1990’s.

From the Summary:  Introduction: Goals and Methods

  1. Certain potential products or consequences of space activities imply such a high degree of change in world conditions that it would be unprofitable within the purview of this report to propose research on them. Examples include a controlled thermonuclear fusion rocket power source and face-to-face meetings with extraterrestrials.

From the Summary:  Attitudes and Values

  1. Though intelligent or semi-intelligent life conceivably exists elsewhere in our solar system, if intelligent extraterrestrial life is discovered in the next twenty years, it will very probably be by radio telescope from other solar systems. Evidences of its existence might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets. The consequences for attitudes and values are unpredictable, but would vary profoundly in different cultures and between groups within complex societies; a crucial factor would be the nature of the communication between us and the other beings. Whether or not earth would be inspired to an all-out space effort by such a discovery is moot: societies sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed. Clearly, the better we can come to understand the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be.
  2. While the discovery of intelligent life in other parts of the universe is not likely in the immediate future, it could nevertheless happen at any time. Whenever it does occur its consequences for earth attitudes and values may be profound. Hence a long-term research effort, which would aid in preparing for this possibility, could usefully begin with:

A continuing determination of emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.

From Section 9: Attitudes and Values:  Possible Implications for the General Public

Recent publicity given to efforts to detect extraterrestrial messages via radio telescope has popularized — and legitimized — speculations about the impact of such a discovery on human, values. It is conceivable that there is semi-intelligent life in some part of our solar system or highly intelligent life which is not technologically oriented, and many cosmologists and astronomers think it very likely that there is intelligent life in many other solar systems. While face-to-face meetings with it will not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these ‘life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus. If there is any contact to be made during the next twenty years it would most likely be by radio — which would indicate that these beings had at least equaled our own technological level.

An individual’s reactions to such a radio contact would in part depend on his cultural, religious, and social background, as well as on the actions of those he considered authorities and leaders and their behavior, in turn would in part depend on their cultural, social, and religious environment. The discovery would certainly be front-page news everywhere; the degree of political or social repercussion would probably depend on leadership’s interpretation of (1) its own role, (2) threats to that role, and (3) national and personal opportunities to take advantage of the disruption or reinforcement of the attitudes and values of others. Since leadership itself might have great need to gauge the direction and intensity of public attitudes, to strengthen its own morale and for decision making purposes, it would be most advantageous to have more to go on than personal opinions about the opinions of the public and other leadership groups.

The knowledge that life existed in other parts of the universe might lead to a greater unity of men on earth, based on the oneness of man or on the age-old assumption that any stranger is threatening Much would depend on what, if anything, was communicated between man and the other beings: since after the discovery there will be years of silence (because even the closest stars are several light years away, an exchange of radio communication would take twice-the number of light years separating our sun from theirs), the fact that such beings existed might become simply one of the facts of life but probably not one calling for action. Whether Earthmen would be inspired to all-out space efforts by such a discovery is a moot question. Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they have had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways; others that survived such an experience usually did so by paying the price of changes in values and attitudes and behavior.

Since intelligent life might be discovered at any time via the radio telescope research presently under way, and since the consequences of such a discovery are presently unpredictable because of our limited knowledge of behavior under even an approximation of such dramatic circumstances, two research areas can be recommended:

  •    Continuing studies to determine emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes — and successive alterations of them if any — regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.
  •    Historical and empirical studies of the behavior of peoples and their leaders when confronted with dramatic and unfamiliar events or social pressures.  Such studies might help to provide programs for meeting and adjusting to the implications of such a discovery. Questions one might wish to answer by such studies would include: How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented to or withheld from the public for what ends?  What might be the role of the discovering scientists and other decision makers regarding release of the fact of discovery?

These are measured statements completely in accord with an academic analysis. They clearly could be used to support and intellectual argument in the privacy of government meeting rooms as to why government personnel should maintain strict secrecy controls regarding all things extraterrestrial and honor all appropriate non-disclosure/secrecy agreements until such time as the government felt comfortable with a public disclosure. Perhaps they even tossed in 1938 for emphasis.

But to use these dry, academic projections to assert the Brookings Institution sagely made the case human beings (particularly those in the United States and First World nations) 10, 20, 40 years ahead would fall apart, society would collapse, and the sum of all benefits from global awareness of the truth would be drowned out by some anthropological comparisons, is, well, thin.

Read it again.  Does it strike fear in your heart?   On a scale of 1 to 10, how does it measure up to the constant drumbeat of government predictions of possible dirty bomb, nuclear, biological and chemical attacks by persons unknown?  Said predictions made in the open, not carefully couched in private reports. If the Brookings Report had been made public in the early 1960’s it would have been debated by intellectuals around the world until its more cautionary assertions were as inert as neon gas.

Attack of the 50’ Insane Christian Fundamentalists

Here is a misperception (misinformation?) I am quite tired of hearing. While most people will be able to handle a disclosure event, those crazy disciples of Jerry Falwell will become so upset they will literally bring down society all by themselves. They will commit terrible unspecified acts so heinous the disclosure event will be catastrophic. Pleeeeeeease.

The vast majority of evangelical, fundamentalist Christians are as reasonable in their actions, as demure in their behavior as any run-of-the-mill secularist. The few that are extreme are just that – a few.  Nothing new here, and global policy can’t be held hostage to the discomfort of a few.

If there is a government policy basis for concern regarding evangelical Christians it would more appropriately be their end times, Rapture beliefs when in close proximity to the Executive.   This issue has been raised by numerous journalists, including Bill Moyers. Why worry about the environment or a “prophecy fulfilling?” war in the Middle East when the Second Coming and the end is near?

Whatever the outcome of that debate, the obvious point to make is such an end times belief structure would only serve to insulate such a worldview from a disclosure event, not incite mayhem. There are other beings in the world. So what? Just one more irrelevant piece of information at the end of days.

It is long past time to stop using fundamentalist Christians as scapegoats to justify continuing the truth embargo


Relevant Web links:

Brookings Report:  www.anomalies.net/brookings/report.pdf
War of the World
s Broadcast: http://history1900s.about.com/od/1930s/a/warofworlds.htm

Exopolitics: Peter & John

October 18, 2004
Stephen Bassett

“Has anybody here…………

Dr. John Mack

“There are no coincidences.”

It would not be appropriate to say I was a friend of John Mack. Acquaintance perhaps – we had met and spoken on a few occasions. It would be a considerable hubris to say a common interest in extraterrestrial-related phenomena made us colleagues. John Mack was a giant of the 20th Century, whose work will soon (but not soon enough) be vindicated. I was a repressed activist without portfolio who had misplaced the first half of his life and sought a role and purpose for the last half.

But John Mack would influence my life as no other. In 1995, while reexamining my long, but not pursued interest in the UFO question, I read Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. That such a distinguished academic would dare to engage the abduction issue left an impression. It was one of many indications the study of extraterrestrial-related phenomena had risen to a new level.  This in no way diminishes the work of Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs and others. But Mack’s 45-year relationship with Harvard University had implications for disclosure, the political resolution, and combined with other indicators pointed toward such a resolution being at hand.

And so it was in the late fall of 1995 from California I approached the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research (PEER) in Cambridge with a request to volunteer as a development assistant.  PEER was part of the Center for Psychology and Social Change founded in 1982 by Dr. Mack and colleagues. Then Executive Director, Karen Wesolowski, handled such matters and generously accepted my offer.

For the drive across country I deliberately routed through Roswell. While driving in twilight across the vast expanse of New Mexico, approaching Roswell and staring into the darkening and beckoning mysteries of the government captive desert, there came an overwhelming sense of impending events and a sense of certainty and purpose so powerful, all fear fell away.

I arrived in Cambridge January 26, 1996 in the middle of one of the worst winters in decades. Cleared snow was piled higher than the tops of buses. Dr. Mack was out of town, so a week to settle in would be followed by an introduction upon his return in the first week of February.

John Mack had just passed through the two most difficult years of his professional life. It began when a woman approached him at a UFO conference and told him she was very interested in his work and wanted assistance in exploring her “abduction” experiences. She would eventually undergo several hypnosis sessions and shortly thereafter approach Time Magazine with a story of how she had “faked” her experience in order to expose Dr. Mack’s research methodology and UFO “cult.” The April 25, 1994 Time article triggered by her “scoop” led to a 14-month Harvard investigation that put Dr. Mack through the wringer and did not end until the fall of 1995 when Harvard issued a report which chose not to censure him and “reaffirmed Dr. Mack’s academic freedom to study what he wishes and to state his opinions without impediment.”

Behind the scenes this woman continued to create disruption for Dr. Mack including turning up at the June 1994 Annual Meeting of CSICOP, which had invited Mack to present. John estimated the cost of his Harvard investigation defense to be in excess of $250,000.

During 1995 the respected PBS program NOVA produced a documentary titled “Kidnapped by UFOs” featuring Dr. Mack and Budd Hopkins among others. Early in February of 1996 NOVA delivered to the office of PEER a pre-broadcast copy of the documentary as a courtesy. On the morning of his return to Cambridge John reviewed the finished documentary for the first time. He quickly learned that NOVA had turned the documentary into a “hit piece.” (One NOVA producer resigned when PBS suits demanded the documentary take this direction). Along with poor science and bad editing, NOVA had given over a full segment to the sting operation by the woman who had plagued Mack’s work for two years and nearly cost him his tenure. Her name was Donna Rice Bassett. *

Right after viewing the documentary Dr. Mack joined Karen Wesolowski and me in a meeting room. Karen made the introduction. “John, this gentleman has come all the way from California to help us and is very interested in your work. Please meet Stephen Bassett.”

In early 2004 I invited John to speak at the April X-Conference. His schedule was quite full, and as expected, he declined through an intermediary who did add that John was a bit uncomfortable with my “confrontational approach.” This did not offend. I am a political activist and confrontation (non-violent) is an indispensable tool. The government is enormously powerful and yields its secrets and its power with great reluctance – and time is running out. There are many paths.

But upon reading the reply I immediately recalled that February day in 1996 when we met for the first time. Later that afternoon in the reception area of PEER John was sitting on the sofa contemplating the NOVA documentary soon to be aired. He muttered to himself, “the fascists are coming to get me.” Inside the gentle professor was an activist who wanted a better world based upon understanding and compassion. I held out hope John would agree to present at X-Conference 2005. It would have been an honor.

Are there no coincidences? Certainly the synchronicity of that February day has remained with me. In May of that year, sitting in my office in Cambridge and contemplating my departure from PEER, my course for the next eight years simply fell out of the ether fully formed. I left for Washington in July to engage the “politics of UFOs” meaning the “politics of disclosure” meaning exopolitics. The work continues.

And the work is difficult, which is why one likes to find hooks upon which to hang their motivations. I found one. A woman who married a gentleman with the same name as mine tried to ruin a great man and demean his work. I am going to help end the truth embargo which prevents the vindication of his work. It will be a pleasure.

Peter Morgenstern-Clarren

….and flights of angels…….

In 2002, during one of hottest summers on record, 30 volunteers set out to gather 5000 signatures from registered voters in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland in order to secure a place for me on the ballot as an independent candidate. The subject of exopolitics would be front and center in the campaign. The grocery stores did not permit soliciting inside the entrance areas, and with the high humidity the heat index consistently rose to 110 and stayed that way for the entire signature gathering process. They succeeded. There was no chance to “win.” It was purely about issues and principal. How do you thank such people?

Two of those volunteers were Derek Garcia and Peter Morgenstern-Clarren, both students of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. At the time Derek was the managing editor of the campus paper, Peter wrote for the paper and both were activists. These young men were way ahead of their time. They invited me to speak at Wesleyan and later created a student run course on extraterrestrial-related phenomena. There was so much interest they had to turn away applicants.

Peter was the history major, the social activist, leader of the campus chapter of Amnesty International, the brooder on social ills. He cared, he paid attention, he voted. After he graduated he spent time tutoring at his former elementary school. In a nation of citizens turning away from politics, from voting, from caring – even from reality – Peter was the antidote.

When the Cold War ended in 1991, it was as if the glue that held the American superstructure together melted. There were some good economic times, but something very wrong was happening deeper down, something hidden. The symptoms were emerging, and Peter saw them clearly. He saw them too well. He was an empath. The suffering in the world that was rising like a tsunami as the planet raced wildly forward without leadership and with common sense all but abandoned, was difficult to bear. He could not see past it.

On April 21 this year he stepped in front of a racing train leaving his family and his great friend Derek behind. I wrote Derek at the time:

“It will never ‘make sense’ because it is an act of passion and emotion.  It is the surrender of reason to the moment and a refutation of the uncertain future. It is, in the end, what he wanted. He would have traveled to the stars. Now you will travel to the stars on his behalf.”

As I write this, it has been a difficult 13 months. Aside from the usual travails of this world, the community of researchers and activists has lost Graham Birdsall, Laurance Rockefeller, Lord Hill-Norton, Eugene Mallove, Gordon Cooper, John Mack and Betty Hill. But the death of Peter Morgenstern-Clarren affected me the most.

Is it not enough that the baby boom generation (children of the bomb) will leave our young people a bankrupt treasury, a degraded environment, fished out oceans, holes in the sky and a broken down political system which kills ideas before they are born? At least let them know the truth of their world. Let them know there is a galaxy awaiting them because the human race has already been found. It is being engaged. And this truth is more important than all the anti-matter weapons we can build, all the particle beam weapons in space, all the “extra edge” we can get on our new enemies, whomever they are, all the delayed technology transfer oil revenues we can bank, all the warm and fuzzy feelings that come from “knowing something you don’t know,” all the arrogance of power, the abuse of trust, and all the mansions in McLean, Virginia. The truth embargo isn’t worth it.

I wouldn’t trade Peter for all the political pundits, all the military/intel “insiders,” all the hot shot news anchors and the entire retinue of the Congress of the United States.

Peter and John are the alpha and omega of this paradigm change – a man near the end of his life trying to open the world for the young man seeking to find his life. Both stood up to a complex of thinking that surpasses even the closed minds of the 14th Century who stood at the edge of the ocean and commanded the tide to stop – these closed minds stand before the whole galaxy and command it to go away.

So the disclosure work will go forward. And these two men, named after two who traveled with one of the greatest truth tellers to ever walk the earth, will be in our thoughts.


* At the time of these events Donna Rice was married to Edward Bassett who had worked with Phil Klass at the Washington Bureau of Aviation Week and Space Technology in the late 70s and early 80s. Klass claims he played no part whatsoever in setting up Dr. John Mack – this from a man who tried to destroy Dr. James McDonald in the 1960s. Perhaps there are no coincidences.

Relevant Web links:

John E. Mack Institute:   www.centerchange.org
Mack’s response to NOVA:    www.beyondweird.com/ufos/John_Mack_Letter_To_Nova_February_1996.html
Peter Morgenstern-Clarren eulogies:  www.wesleyan.edu/argus/archives/may042004/dateyear/w11.html www.wesleyan.edu/argus/archives/apr302004/dateyear/n2.html

Exopolitical Activism?  

September 9, 2004
Stephen Bassett

dis·clo·sure d-sklzhr
Function: noun:
1: the act or process of revealing or uncovering.
2: something uncovered; a revelation.
3: formal acknowledgement by the United States government and other governments of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race and the planet earth. (pending)

ex·o·pol·i·tics   ks-pl-tks  (pending)
Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
Etymology: From Greek exo, outside, from ex, out of, and from Greek politika, from neuter plural of politikos political.
1: the art or science of government as concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy toward extraterrestrial phenomena and extraterrestrial beings.
2: exopolitical actions, practices, or policies.
3: the exopolitical opinions or sympathies of a person.
4: the total complex of relations between the human race and non-human, intelligent beings.

ac·tiv·ist  kt-vst
Function: noun
A proponent or practitioner of activism: political activists.
Function: adj.
1: of, relating to, or engaged in activism.
2: of, relating to, or being an activist.

Washington, DC – Recently a colleague who is producing a conference referred to me in a release draft as an “exopolitical activist” – an appropriate and catchy moniker. I asked that it read “political activist.” There are two important reasons for this correction.

The first has to do with the concept of “normalization.”  This has been a fundamental and ongoing strategy of Paradigm Research Group, which attempts to directly confront the intellectual ghettoization inflicted on the field of extraterrestrial-related phenomena research and advocacy since 1947. The creation of intellectual or even physical ghettos to separate ideas and people from the larger culture in order to diminish their influence has been used by ruling classes and institutions since the beginning of “civilization.” It is very effective.

This metaphor is not put forth casually. Other 20th Century examples are well known and intensely remembered. Physical ghettos with walls of stone lead to great human suffering.  Intellectual ghettos with walls of ridicule have a more complex and subtle impact on the human condition, but still one of great consequence.

The intellectual ghettoization of extraterrestrial-related phenomena research/activism was orchestrated by elements within the United States government with purchased, voluntary and unwitting complicity from private citizens and institutions. The full description of its construction and implementation will fill books, but would include:

  • Placement of absurd stories in low-end tabloid newspapers.
  • Direct statements of ridicule of events and evidence from military spokespersons and line officers.
  • Arrangements with selected newspapers to limit serious coverage and encourage humorous coverage of the subject matter.
  • Arrangements with selected television networks to do the same.
  • Interjection of false information to discredit people and organizations, misdirect the media and waste resources.
  • Direct, false denial of events and evidence to undermine credibility of government witnesses.
  • Planting of agents within the research/activist community to incite conflict, engineer career attacks* and “muddy the water.”  Such agents ran the gamut from skeptics to debunkers to subversive agents. Some emerged from the milieu with a personal agenda but without government connection, and were then encouraged to “keep it up” by invites to radio and television interviews as resident skeptics to counter any and all assertions and evidence put forward by “ufologists.”
  • Prevention or termination of government research studies which could not be controlled by either the Department of Defense or the intelligence agencies.
  • Suppression of the reporting of military pilot and radar operator sightings and other evidence which threatened the cover-up.
  • And much more.

Once the walls of ridicule are constructed the cover-up begins to self-manage. Whenever anyone touches the issue, whatever that person’s credentials or life accomplishments, they are immediately assigned to the ghetto (tossed over the wall) and instantly diminished. Particularly vulnerable to this process are academics without tenure and all “licensed” professions such as doctors, lawyers, psychologists/therapists, etc.**

“Normalization” is one way to counter this tactic. Treat the issue in the appropriate fashion and encourage others to do the same.   If an issue, any issue, has great social and political implications, it should be lobbied – register as a lobbyist; it should have a political action committee – create one; it should be debated by balloted federal candidates – get on a ballot; it should have town hall meetings – hold them; it should have press conferences at the National Press Club – conduct them. To be just an “exopolitical activist” is to imply it is not “political activism.” It is not a great distinction – just one less brick in the wall.

The second reason for my correction is a matter of accuracy. When you engage the “politics of UFOs” meaning “the politics of disclosure” meaning “exopolitics,” you quickly note political issues of a very terrestrial nature intertwined and impossible to ignore. You learn things about your country you would prefer not to know.   Matters of secrecy reform, abuse of power, constitutional degradation, violation of separation of powers, legislative ineptitude, voter apathy, two-party power concentration, environmental and energy implication, etc.  This is “political activism” in the rawest sense. “Exo” does not cover this job.

It is a long held hope of Paradigm Research Group that activists in these related areas would someday publicly interact, network, with their “exopolitical” counterparts and share experiences – normalization. Over the years PRG invites of various types have been extended to environmental activist attorney, Jonathan Turley; secrecy reform activist, Steven Aftergood; intelligence specialist attorney, Mark Zaid; land mine ban activist, Jody Williams; Gulf War activist, Joyce Riley; secrecy/FOIA reformer, Thomas Blanton; secrecy reformer and presidential aide, John Podesta; and others.  Many were connected with the 2004 X-Conference. All such invites have been declined or unacknowledged. Maybe next year.

The wall of ridicule is a structure within the mind. It has no brick or mortar. It is as formidable as each person permits it to be. It will not be brought down by blows from a sledge, but by acts of courage.

Recently I had the honor of meeting with Marcia Shiff, widow of New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff, and presenting her with the PRG Award for Political Courage given to her late husband at the April 2004 X-Conference. Who will stand with Steven Schiff’s legacy? ***

Members of the mainstream political and journalistic establishment: tear down this wall.


NASA’s Dilemma – Metaphor in the Sand

The fate of the returned Genesis capsule presents an irresistible metaphor. From the moment of its inception in 1958 NASA has been a primary victim of the extraterrestrial-related phenomena truth embargo. The agency designated to explore space on behalf of the American people would not, could not publicly acknowledged any evidence it might encounter pointing toward sentient extraterrestrial beings, living or dead. The stress this has caused within the agency can only be imagined.

After so many years and many spectacular failures how odd to watch the centerpiece of the latest malfunction – a shiny saucer-like craft – wobble to the earth at 200 mph and embed itself in the sand.   How could anyone who has pursued this matter not immediately note the metaphor?

It was my privilege to hear the great explorer and author, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, present at the July Roswell Festival.  In his lecture he acknowledged the likelihood that extraterrestrial technology from crashed vehicles had been in the hands of the U. S. government for some time.

After the lecture I asked this question (paraphrasing): “Dr. Mitchell, you stated the U. S. Government likely possessed advanced technology from crashed extraterrestrial vehicles. Others have come to the same conclusion. Does it not trouble you that 14 astronauts have died being blasted into space by exploding chemicals and returned on gliding hotplates, while propulsion systems with greater capability were hostage to the cover-up and withheld?

While this question was not intended to be an indictment of NASA, any prudent person would know such an interpretation was unavoidable.  Dr. Mitchell is not just prudent, he is brilliant – and loyal.  In all of his public statements in support of the research and activism targeting the truth embargo, he has never impugned the legacy or integrity of the agency he served and allowed him the extraordinary privilege of standing on the moon. His answer to my question was consistent and safe.

There is a nobility in this, and I will not challenge an aging legend whose life accomplishments are of a substance and depth about which I can only dream. No astronaut has done more to assist this truth process or put pressure on the government to end the cover-up. He has made his mark.

Yet, as I studied the sad image of that $260 million capsule in the sand, I could not help but think the women and men who have risked their lives to explore and understand space on our behalf deserve better than this. And better will not come until NASA is freed of the truth embargo. Perhaps other astronauts will begin to come forward and join Dr. Mitchell, Gordon Cooper, Story Musgrave and Brian O’Leary who have directly and indirectly pointed toward a larger, transcendent truth behind the history of space exploration in the 20th Century.


*    Two notable examples of such attacks were orchestrated by legendary debunker, Phil Klass, who in the 1960s tried to destroy the career of Dr. James MacDonald and later in the mid-1990s, with the help of a colleague’s wife and CSICOP, tried to destroy the career of Dr. John Mack.

**   A recent victim of this process is Dr. Michael Salla, who was moved out of American University’s sphere of influence due to the “direction of his thinking.”

*** Perhaps the Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, has decided to stand with Schiff.  In the foreword to the just published Roswell Dig Diaries (Pocket Books), which Richardson most certainly knew would come out during the presidential campaign, he states, “the mystery surrounding this crash has never been adequately explained — not by independent investigators, and not by the U.S. government. …There are as many theories as there are official explanations. Clearly, it would help everyone if the U.S. government disclosed everything it knows. …The American people can handle the truth — no matter how bizarre or mundane. … With full disclosure and our best scientific investigation, we should be able to find out what happened on that fateful day in July 1947.”   Kudos to the Governor.

Relevant Web Links:

Dr. Michael Salla:  www.exopolitics.org
Joyce Riley/Gulf War Veterans Association: www.gulfwarvets.com
John Podesta/Center for American Progress:  www.americanprogress.org
Mark Zaid/James Madison Project: www.jamesmadisonproject.org
Thomas Blanton/National Security Archive:    www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/
Jody Williams/International Campaign to Ban Land Mines:  www.icbl.org
Steven Aftergood/Federation of American Scientists:  www.fas.org

[Sept/Oct 2004 Column in UFO Magazine]

The Role of the Media in the Politics of Disclosure

June 1, 2001
Stephen Bassett

For the best part of 50 years, when the biggest story of all time and the seminal event in human history phoned in, the ‘fourth estate’ was screening its calls.”

Discovery vs. Disclosure

Discovery is the end process of the scientific method. In an ideal world it would not be political. Three generations of Americans have passed through and now coexist in the greatest age of discovery in history. The sum of human knowledge doubles in but a few years. We revel in the fruits of these discoveries and take them to be our heritage. We create and trust institutions to carry out this process and pay them handsomely to do so. We expect science to be pursued openly and fairly. Often it is.

And often it is not. Huge portions of science and technology were secretized by the military industrial complex to service the prosecution of the Cold War. More portions were secretized by businesses protecting their commercial interests. So now much of science is hidden from us – only to turn up when and if it is considered appropriate for it to be disclosed. The act of disclosure is almost always political.

The greatest scientific discovery in history, the existence of non-human, intelligent life forms with interstellar propulsion technology, has been hidden from the general citizenry for over fifty years. The justification for this has varied from decade to decade and the methodology has at times violated the laws and the Constitution of the nation.

For disclosure to take place on the public’s terms, the grassroots investigative efforts of the last half-century must marry up to institutional action with political initiative presiding over the wedding. If we are to regain our trust in societal structures which have failed us, those same structures must be part of the process of correction. Right now, the most critical of these is the media.

A Quick Look at the Overall Record

Someday, in the aftermath of disclosure of the extraterrestrial presence there is certain to be an intense assessment of how our formal institutions, the ones we have spent 224 years and billions of dollars perfecting, acquitted themselves.

The military and civilian agencies will be severely criticized, but a host of reasons will be brought forward in their support.  National security, the Cold War, the specific circumstances in 1947 at the beginning of the cover-up and fear of destabilization will be considered as acceptable justification by many.  Of particular interest will be the actions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. However, NASA will be able to point to the intelligence community and its obligations to the Department of Defense under the 1958 Space Act, and claim a damned-if-we-came-forward-damned-if-we-didn’t dilemma.

As for the elected officials in the House and Senate, their near complete failure to pay attention will be laid to the campaign finance demands of the modern “politics of money” where votes are bought as never before.  With some House seats going for millions and Senate seats for tens of millions, the fear of alienating funding sources with anything approaching independent thinking has become paralyzing. This paralysis translates into a Seinfeldian “politics of nothing,” with Congress awash in petty, personal bickering, and all major social/political change hostage to vanity and loathing. [Note: to minimize metaphorical confusion, let’s borrow from the music of Dire Straits and refer to this period as the “politics of money for nothing.”]

Religious bodies will claim ignorance and point to the “separation” doctrine to explain their non-involvement in the disclosure process. It was, after all, a message they were not particularly eager to hear anyway.

The university system and the research structures it contains will be targeted for some of the heaviest rebuke.  After all, the very essence of the science is a continuing exploration of new facts, new understanding, new perspectives on nature and the universe.  The department heads, university presidents and individual scientists will plead their hands were tied.  Science in America is now as much about money and grants as it is about unfettered search for understanding. They will profess their sheer terror at the prospect of losing grant monies and reputations had they dared show any public interest in the unfolding extraterrestrial phenomena.   Scientists, by nature conservative, were largely defenseless against the government driven disinformation campaigns that created the infamous “laugh curtain.”

The institutions of politics, religion and science have indeed dropped the ball.   But another in particular has failed spectacularly. This institution has violated every fundamental precept upon which it is founded.  It has gone against a host of self-interests – money, prizes, huge increases in customer base – and rammed its head into the sand.

The role of the news media in our society is much more than story coverage.  The fourth estate is an essential part of the check-and-balance system created by the Constitution.  News media are the eyes and ears of the public.     Sometimes they are its voice.  They are paid to tell us what the public institutions are doing and to convey our concerns to those same institutions in the form of commentary.

For the best part of 50 years, when the biggest story of all time and the seminal event in human history phoned in, the “fourth estate” was screening its calls.

For those who attempted to make those calls, the voice mail menu was easy to understand – “This is your favorite, mainstream news desk.  If you have information about anyone who has ever slept with the President, press one and a reporter will be with you immediately. If you have any information regarding UFOs and other extraterrestrial phenomena, press two and leave a message.  We might get back to you when and if we stop laughing.”

Every top-tier news venue in this country has been approached countless times by citizens and researchers with events and evidence relating to extraterrestrial phenomena. These editors have not done their job, and in this instance have abrogated their mandate to report and investigate a most critical matter impacting our society.

The New Media Structure

As we begin the 21st Century the circumstances of coverage have changed.  While the most respected news organizations such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and ABC/NBC/CBS/CNN news television still steadfastly refuse to properly investigate extraterrestrial phenomena and the process of disclosure, there has been an explosion of alternative media to fill the vacuum created by their absence.

To the surprise of no one a multi-tiered news/media structure has evolved simultaneously with the most important technological innovation in history – the Internet.  The acceptance of this structure by the general public has meant that any news story, regardless of its controversy or inconvenience to established authority, has a point of entry into the national news marketplace. (A representation of this media structure, which is a work in progress to be updated over time, is available at Media Structure.

It has become commonplace for particularly controversial news stories to break in with lower-tier media and then progress upward when always nervous, higher-tier editors are forced to follow up or lose story position.  During the 90’s this was certainly the case with extraterrestrial related phenomena.

Examples abound. The April, 1997 Phoenix, Arizona event was one of the most spectacular set of UFO sightings in American history. The top-tier media wanted nothing to do with it, and might have ignored it completely had it not been for the candid comments and queries by Phoenix Councilwoman Frances Barwood, which drew renewed attention as a political story. However, it was the second-tier USA Today which came forward with an excellent piece on the event by Richard Price.

By now 50 million plus cable television subscribers have figured out that the third-tier TLC and Discovery Channels (Discovery Communications, Inc.), Arts and Entertainment Channel (A&E), and the History Channel have established a library of UFO/ET documentaries which they are airing and re-airing. New ones are being added and will appear later this year.

The “Face on Mars/Cydonia” story, which has now been covered by every tier level at one time or another, was first introduced to the larger public in tier-six and tier-seven tabloids.

Are Journalists Finally Getting It?

Such trends notwithstanding, it still takes courage for any journalist to address the extraterrestrial phenomena subject matter – the higher up the tier structure the greater the courage. While their number is not commensurate with the magnitude of the story, slowly reporters, with the support of some editors, are stepping to the plate. They deserve to be recognized.  Examples would include Paul Hoversten (formerly of) and Richard Price of USA Today, Billy Cox of Florida Today, and Julia Duin of the Washington Times. (A tracking chart of American journalists, who have written about UFO/ET phenomena and treated the core material with circumspection and reasonable seriousness, is located at Journalists.

Meanwhile, as America’s editors ponder whether to get their act together, can a breakthrough from one or more top-tier sources take place?  Yes.

While it may not yet be apparent to most of the public, the editors and producers of some top-tier news outlets are taking meetings behind the scenes on the matter of the extraterrestrial presence and the government cover-up of same. The relentless pressure of the public to know and the increasing media competition makes an investigative breakthrough by at least one top-tier news outlet, inevitable.

For ten years the disclosure boat has been taking on provisions, passengers, crew and cargo. Now the turbines have been primed and the docking ropes are being untied. The boat is about to set sail. Every editor, every reporter and every living person, who has had any connection with the UFO/ET issue during the past 50 years, has the same decision to make – get on board or remain on the dock and wave goodbye.

Right now, Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Donald Graham and Arthur  Sulzberger, Jr., are standing on the dock.  Should the disclosure issue hit critical mass, don’t make the mistake of standing between them and the gangplank.

In fact, by the time this issue of UFO Magazine is published, two major press conferences with the power to create that critical mass, will have taken place in Washington, DC.  If all goes well, they will be the subjects of the next “World View” column.

Once ET/Disclosure issue is formally in play at the top tier, the subject will be fully engaged by the whole of the media structure. The fourth estate will finally fulfill its role, leaving the government with nowhere to turn but outward to the waiting public. Under tremendous pressure from investigative reporting, the cover-up, already weakened by internal defections, will collapse. The new paradigm will begin.

[June 2001 UFO Magazine version.]

It’s a mad, mad world

February 15, 2001
Stephen Bassett

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22.”
Yossarian to Doc Daneeka

Washington, DC – In the years after the war Joseph Heller wrote what not a few literary pundits consider the greatest American novel of the 20th Century. It’s not easy to write the greatest American novel of the 20th Century. Some believe its claim to this title is because it was very, very funny. It was, but that’s not enough. Tom Robbins wrote some novels so funny, if you read them while eating potato chips, you could choke to death.

No, in order to write the greatest American novel of the 20th Century, you have to tap into something deep, something profound about that wonderful claque of bipeds known to biologists and others who care as Homo Sapiens. And what might that be, you tentatively inquire, not sure you want to read further because you are slightly concerned the author is, how would you say it, deranged?

Paradox. Catch-22, for those who have not read the book (and if you haven’t, you had better, if you wish to stay sane during the coming months), is the elegant tool used by Doc Daneeka to determine the fitness of bomber pilots to fly. Anyone who continued to fly off to near certain death was clearly crazy. Anyone who was crazy was not fit to fly and merely had to ask to be sent home. Anyone astute enough to ask to not be forced to fly off to near certain death was clearly sane and could not be sent home.

The novel was, of course, filled with these little circular devils working their way within the context of a major, transforming historical event. That….is why it is the greatest American novel of the 20th Century.

You see, of all the known animal species of which there are millions, only humans understand, suffer from and practice the art of paradox. Not ants, not pandas, not paramecia – just humans. Not even the monkey with its 99% similar DNA or the magnificent dolphin with its human sized brain, language and sonar practice the art of paradox.

Animals can often act against their best interest – eat out the food supply and starve, migrate into the ocean – but that’s not paradox, that’s cause and bad effect – straight-line, non-circular.

Just exactly when Lucy and her descendants became capable of paradox will probably never be known, but one would think it was fairly recent, perhaps even an aspect of modern, “civilized” societies, and further, that as you move closer to the present, it gets worse. It has been said that one way to go insane is to attempt to hold two mutually exclusive, completely contradictory ideas in your head at the same time. Anyone who doesn’t think that people are getting crazier, has never been stuck at the railroad crossing when the Prozac train passed by.

It is fitting that Catch-22 was written about and just after the war.   From WWII on you can’t fall down and not hit your head on a paradox. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is a favorite.   Another favorite is the one embedded in the prolife movement: ending a pregnancy is a sin and must not happen, taking measures to avoid a pregnancy in the first place is also a sin, with the exception of complete abstinence, which if practiced faithfully incites a powerful disposition toward masturbation, which is also a sin. This is not purely circular, but rather spiral with one door out, a bullet in the head (also a sin but not related to the original behavior).

And who can forget the paradox at a seminal moment in the movie, Cool Hand Luke?   You know, the one where poor Luke can’t dig one boss man’s ditch without putting the dirt on the other boss man’s plot. However, the paradoxes of daily life are not the concern here.      It is those associated with major events that are of importance.   Which brings us to ufology. You doubted we would get here?

Could the true reason the planet is up to its collective keister in extraterrestrials be they have come here to rid the world of paradox? Don’t bet against it.

The closest thing to a slam-dunk paradox in science is the wave/particle dualism of matter, and modern physicists are not all that far from resolving that one. The physical world has no use for paradox – it is strictly a creature of consciousness. And as anyone who has spent ten minutes on the internet knows, consciousness is evolving right here, right now. It may be that in order to effect a properly populated, sustainable and just planet, it is required that humans evolve beyond their penchant for paradox – something the visitors have already done.

Also of interest is this: when you look closely at the UFO/ET/Disclosure movement, you find it to be riddled with self-contradiction. Where to begin?

Scientific credibility

The media and debunkers blather on about the fact that reputable scientists do not believe in here-and-now extraterrestrials. However, when any reputable scientist does step forward with that view, they are immediately discounted. Why? Because there are no extraterrestrials, and any scientist who would believe such, can’t be reputable.


The phrase rolls off the tongue of every counter-scheduled guest on every talk show: “There is not a shred of evidence that shows that……..blah, blah, blah.”   “But have you read this book, seen this document, watched this video, viewed these photographs, talked to this astronaut?”   “No, I haven’t and I don’t need to.”   “Why is that?”   “There are no extraterrestrials, so there can’t be any evidence for extraterrestrials, and so there is nothing to look at.”

Congress and the media

If you talk to the media about the need for congressional hearings, the media will tell you there is no need for hearings and if there were, the congress would hold them. When you talk to members of congress, you are told that they might consider making a move in this area, but are afraid to do so because the top media show no real interest in or acceptance of UFOs and a cover-up.


Trust in government is dropping with unpleasant consequences. Americans are forming militias, blowing up federal buildings, and refusing to pay taxes. Any prospect of reasonable and effective, federal and state gun policy have been blocked because millions of citizens believe the government will not only take their guns, but will create a national security state, and they will need their guns to take the country back. There are shootouts, burnouts, and new cult formations. People are behaving badly.

One of the reasons for this is government lying, excessive secrecy and secrecy abuse. The UFO cover-up is the crown jewel of military/intel secrecy. Within the UFO/ET research community are those who believe that disclosure should not take place. Why? If the people are told the truth, they would lose trust in government and behave badly.


If an individual remembers an ET encounter with the aid of hypnosis, it is bogus because recall with the aid of, as opposed to without the aid of, hypnosis, creates false memories. If they remember such an encounter via unaided, conscious memory, it is invalid. Why? There are no extraterrestrials, so it must be a false memory of child abuse.

Proof vs. Hoax

With regard to the skeptics, if you can show that one particular event is completely unexplainable by any known science, it proves nothing. But if you can show that one particular event was hoaxed, it invalidates and entire phenomenon (crop circles).

The Internet

If you are discussing the internet with the political or business media, they tell you the internet is the most powerful tool ever created for commerce, information dissemination, news, etc. If you are discussing the internet with the science or political media as a huge resource for information on the UFO/ET reality, they tell you the internet is a grotesque mishmash of nonsense, time wasting detritus, fraud and misinformation.

There’s more, but you get the picture. Paradox is powerful stuff. It can kill. The Nazis used it a lot. They would herd people into closed ghettos, where, stripped of many belongings or means of support, they would decay into an unsightly mass. Then the SS would stand on the ghetto walls with visiting media and say, “See what a mess these people are. That’s why we have to keep them in this ghetto.”

Time to stop the madness.

Days of Mircle & Wonder: Clearing the decks for the new century

January 1, 2001
Stephen Bassett

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry, baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry
Paul Simon from the Graceland Album

Washington, DC – Activism is not a profession one aspires to at a young age. “And what do you want to be when you grow up, child?”  “I want to march on Washington, nana?” No. Much later you come to it obliquely after losing control of the wheel of your life or being bumped off the road by some outrageous event. Activism is not taught in the schools – if anything, it is taught against.

The modern, mainstream version was launched by JFK in 1961. What a concept. Take two years of your life, leave the country and work on behalf of some distant people’s need in some countryside where the cockroaches are as big as hamsters. The baby boomers, the same group Paul Begala excoriates in the April 2000 Esquire (“The Worst Generation”) as “the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history” (What is his problem?), flocked to the Peace Corps, creating an international phenomenon.

Who knew the idea would spill over and add to the line of buses streaming into the segregated south? There activist youth lost their lives trying to save the south from itself, ending the American apartheid and turning Democrats into Republicans in droves.

Most societies find it difficult to appreciate activists in their lifetime, or afterlife time, for that matter. Yeah, sure, they change the world for the better, sacrifice their interests, face down huge obstacles.   But they are usually a pain in the ass.

The very nature of activism is to cram a new point of view down society’s throat when society is not hungry – much like worming a German Shepard. The dog appreciates that the pills banished the worms, but can’t quite lose the idea of ripping your arm off. By the late sixties, the majority of Americans knew in their gut the war was a disaster. They supported its end but were not comfortable with, what were to them alien life forms, marching on anything with Greek columns and screaming obscenities at their cherished institutions. “Yeah, we know it needs to be over, but would y’all mind jumping back into your VW buses and let nature take its course. We’ll win the damn thing at whatever cost and regret it later.”   Activists rarely listen to reason.

Decades afterward the leaders of the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement as well, were regarded with ambiguity. It’s always that way – women’s rights, labor, environment – the accolades are slow in coming as if the middle class doesn’t want to be reminded of another painful transition. There’s renewed notice and some acceptance when a Jerry Rubin does a one-eighty. More common is a relegation to a state of underachievement where men and women, who, sans the activist path, would have reached another level of influence and position, but are only permitted a lesser status. Tom Hayden and Julian Bond come to mind. Sometimes it ends in the bedroom of a modest house with a Seconal cocktail, as with Abbie Hoffman.

Societies need new ideas pumped in like airliners need fresh air. Cut off new and challenging thinking, and the intellectual air grows stale, the passengers sickly. Activists are the pump, and greater appreciation for what they do will keep the air flowing.

It’s been five years since this author arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts to begin a mid-life activist’s journey into a world unlike any other. Compared to the careers of many in the field, this is not a long time. But it’s long enough to appreciate what the old timers have gone through – 10, 20, 30 years up against a world view thousands of years in the making.   Nevertheless, given what is about to happen, it’s hard not to feel like Rosie Ruiz*. Perhaps some others feel the same way. As the saying goes, lie down until the feeling passes. It’s time to rock.

Or rant. After five years of wins and losses, grief and glory, obsession and compulsion, this is a good opportunity to clear the deck before starting fresh in the new millennium. So, if you don’t mind, the author would like to get a few things off the chest. Then they will be put away, in a little lockbox, and hopefully never revisited again. Let the venting begin.

Lighten Up

Ufologists are too hard on each other. Ufology is too hard on itself.   One is reminded of the classic Bill Cosby routine with a football team in emotional high dungeon at half-time ready to hit the field and lay waste to the opposition. “Let’s go,” the coach screams. They lunge for the door – it’s locked. One assumes this hapless team finally gets the door open and finishes the game. Not so with the UFO/Disclosure movement since 1947. Here the door remains shut, nowhere to go, weeks pass, the team in frustration trashes the locker room and then beats the hell out of each other. The government locked the door 53 years ago. Don’t pound on each other. Find the key and open it.

The Boys in the Band

Of course, it has been suggested that some in the field wear brass knuckles because that is their job, paid or otherwise, to keep the pot and the minds boiling – some patriotic subversion for a good cause.   Note to such: better check with headquarters and get up to speed.   You don’t want to be perched on the ramparts waving your arms and belching about the planet Venus, swamp gas, lying Lt. Colonels and nano-mechanical ice crystals while your brethren are setting up the chairs at the press conference announcing a million year old alien presence in your world.

Painful Moments

One occurred poolside in 1995 in San Luis Obispo at a time of deciding whether to leave one life behind and drive cross country to Cambridge to begin another. The marvelous book, The Holographic Universe by gifted writer Michael Talbot, had been read just a few weeks before. At a time when you are about to make a major decision, you look for anchors. Something about this book and its author held a powerful resonance. Here was a visionary man with amazing life experiences trying to see the world in a new way. There was so much more to learn, and he was talented, published and only 40 – I thought. Being 50, there seemed ample time to discover a new universe and make a difference. Time even to meet this wonderful writer on the other side of the continent.

So that day, reading Whitley Strieber’s Breakthrough under a warm, California sky, moving through the chapter entitled “Michael’s Gift,” a numbing cold descended as it slowly became clear the chapter was about Michael Talbot, and he was dead of leukemia at 37.

What could those at the pool have thought of a middle aged man blubbering into the pages of a book?  Did they know how precious time can be when you suddenly have a passion to use it?   Did they know that a few weeks later, while driving in twilight across the vast expanse of New Mexico, approaching Roswell and staring into the darkening and beckoning mysteries of the government captive desert, there would come a sense of elation never felt before in a life of small consequence, a sense of certainty and purpose so powerful, all fear fell away?

Which was good, because there would be more painful moments.

  • Learning in April of 1998 that Representative Steven Schiff was dead of cancer at 51 and feeling like a fool, being the “UFO lobbyist” and never securing a meeting with one of the few members of the House to ever stand up to the cover-up.
  • Learning of the death of Shari Adamiak, Karla Turner and Phil Corso, the latter more so because the Army and the top media had successfully dodged dealing with his memoir and public statements while he was alive and able to respond.
  • Watching from a distance an unbelievable assault via radio and internet on Art Bell and his radio program.
  • Hearing on the phone the uncontrolled, screaming anger of a suicidal colleague as a life collapsed and another marriage fell apart under the pressures of the work and the frustration.  This pain is revisited every time another skeptic/debunker/operative rants on about con artists milking a gullible public. This against a backdrop of early deaths, heart attacks, heart arrhythmias, cancers, busted bank accounts, and years of persistence by researchers and authors earning a fraction of what their talents would command in the “acceptable” segments of the business and academic world.
  • Learning that Paul Allen had thrown $20 million down the drain of the SETI science propaganda project, while the disclosure movement confronts the military industrial complex with nickels and dimes. This pain is compounded by the fact that the few individuals in and around the field with the wealth to truly make a difference will not direct a penny toward the politics of disclosure.

Lessons Learned

  • Don’t publish anything anywhere on the internet you aren’t prepared to see forwarded, copied, printed, embossed and put on a billboard in Times Square.
  • Don’t respond to email that infuriates until the next day or not at all.
  • Whatever your reaction to some new development in the field of ufology, reduce that reaction by half, and then by half again. Then deal with it.
  • Email is very conducive to expressions of ego and no help to humility whatsoever.


The very nature of ufology assaults the underbelly of human vulnerability – fear, shame, ego, and need. The most difficult discipline has been ego management. After that comes anger. In all of five years very few times has there been real burning anger and they have been put aside. Only one item remains to be extinguished.

When the amazing story of this 50-year struggle is written, aside from any grotesque acts by the government in defense of its little secret, within the public arena one piece of mischief will stand out.   It is the circumstances by which members of a skeptic organization contrived to set up a distinguished college professor and destroy this professor’s work, career and reputation. They used a vulnerable third party to carry out the plan and then compounded the crime by inviting the professor to give a good faith presentation at their organization’s annual dinner – only to spring the fruits of the plot on their guest.

It will come to be known as one of the most despicable acts in the history of modern science, directed at someone who had done more in a lifetime of work to help humanity than any score of their kind combined.

It has been said that ufology has suffered most from its “inability to conduct proper science.” Not true. It has suffered most from the quality of the skeptics that rose to challenge its findings. Putting aside Carl Sagan, more complicit than skeptic, there hasn’t been a media active debunker worthy of carrying the tape recorder of the typical field investigator.

There, we’ll just take that over here and put it in the little lockbox with the other stuff. Ah, yes, that feels better. Much better. Happy New Millennium.

*   Infamous runner who jumped into the last thousand yards of the woman’s Boston Marathon and claimed the winner’s trophy until found out the next day.

The Disclosure Cookbook

November 1, 2000
Stephen Bassett

Abbie Hoffman would have titled it, “Disclose this Book”

Washington, DC – It is the question most often asked.  “How will it happen?” A more important question is, “How should it happen?”   Both deserve an answer. Putting optimism aside for a moment, our first recipe serves up an order of “will.”

It will be bi-partisan. The predominant party affiliation of career military, intelligence, corporate defense contractor and NASA personnel is Republican. But for the select few in command and control of the UFO/ET agenda, a political party biased disclosure process would be both dangerous and transparent. It would directly threaten the civilian control of the military and call into question the patriotism of line officers and managers, who, in most cases, would be learning of this new reality at the same time as the general public.

It will happen early in the administration of the new president. While a second term scenario would be preferable to the party in power, a first term will do if circumstances require it, and they do.   The nation, and this projection is confined to the nation, will need as much time as possible to digest the disclosed information prior to reentering the next presidential election cycle. The mid-term election is not a factor.

Preliminary briefings directed at the Democratic and Republican candidates will begin during the campaigns. They will be done with great care and not without some risk.  Any of the four candidates might choose to go public based upon personal ethics. However, this risk is small as the arguments for keeping the subject from exploding into the middle of an ongoing election will be persuasive.

This strategy to inform both aspiring presidents and vice-presidents “before” the election outcome is the ultimate act of bipartisanship.   By this act the military/intelligence agencies place themselves outside of politics for the coming process, as either party might win – a very close election would serve to accentuate this neutrality.

These briefing will be logistically difficult. Any leak to third parties would portend chaos. So they will be direct, avoid any electronic transmission, and will take place as close to the source as possible.   Think campaign airplanes sitting on runways in the right airports.

After the election is over, briefing of the new president will continue during the transition period. This is ideal as this period is nothing but meetings which can be held anywhere in the country. Once a president enters the White House, the issue is formally enjoined and the logistics change dramatically.

And from where will this information and people to transmit it emerge? There are many possible vehicles. It will be a national security focused and somewhat ecumenical, cross agency entity.   It will likely be in the control of the CIA because this agency has the cleanest hands and whitest hats (surprised?). It is also the symbol of national security intelligence to a general public largely ignorant of the myriad of other extant agencies conducting intelligence.

A possible candidate would be the National Intelligence Council.

The National Intelligence Council, managed by a Chairman and a Vice Chairman, is comprised of National Intelligence Officers–senior experts drawn from all elements of the Community and from outside the Government. The National Intelligence Officers concentrate on the substantive problems of particular geographic regions of the world and of particular functional areas such as economics and weapons proliferation. They serve the DCI in his role as leader of the Intelligence Community by providing a center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking and production.         Through routine close contact with policymakers, collection, research, and community analysis, the NIC provides the DCI with the information he needs to assist policymakers as they pursue shifting interests and foreign policy priorities. The NIC also draws on nongovernmental experts in academia and the private sector to bring in fresh perspectives and analytic methods to enhance the intelligence process. Finally, the NIC assists the Intelligence Community by evaluating the adequacy of intelligence support and works with the Community’s functional managers to refine strategies to meet the most crucial needs of our senior consumers.
From the 2001 CIA Website

Selected individuals from any segment of the nation’s infrastructure (with high security clearance being a likely qualifier) could be brought in and engaged on the subject within the confines of such an entity. From these meetings would come the specific content of the pre- an post-election briefings.

The Disclosure Event

If Washington, DC was a cruise ship it would sink in half an hour.   Here, leaking information has been perfected to a fine art. There will be an enormous challenge facing the White House as it formulates the disclosure event itself. Given that our nation, in its wisdom, has chosen to permit several hundred media members to operate inside the West Wing of the White House on a daily basis, maintaining the integrity of the process will be extraordinarily difficult.

For that reason alone, things will happen quickly. The disclosure event will take place within a few weeks or months of taking office.   What form will it take?

There will be considerable internal debate over two approaches: 1) the classic presidential address to the nation, and 2) the mega press conference modeled after the NASA Mars life event of 1997.         Both will be used with the emphasis on the second – a brief announcement from the White House immediately followed by what will be the largest and longest press conference in the nation’s history.

The concerns here are these: 1) a presidential address to the nation alone would be too ominous and would not permit immediate broad based questions from the press, 2) a presidential press conference would be too political and would also not permit extensive broad based questions with answers from experts in each aspect of the matter at hand. The public is going to want information and a lot of it, and they are going to want it immediately.

The President, who is both the leader of the nation and the leader of a political party, will open the event which then will shift location to a press conference with several dozen participants. The usual suspects will have been rounded up. A likely cast would include: Senate/House majority/minority leaders, the CIA Director, the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs and possibly the Joint Chiefs (an important tactical decision which will be affected by the content), the NASA administrator, a half-dozen scientific specialists (biology, exo-biology, chemistry, physics, cosmology/astrophysics, propulsion engineering, etc.), two or three well-know religious leaders, and three to five social/political community leaders (there will be gender and ethnic diversity).

And, yes, Carl Sagan addressed this structure in Contact. That was a novel.

A spokesperson will be selected to present the basic statement of facts. That statement will define the rules of engagement and the boundaries. It will be made clear that some information will for the time being remain classified. The amount and nature of that information will be the most important tactical decision of the disclosure team and will be the first indication of the direction the process is going.

The press conference will, of course, be universally broadcast. And while it will be broadcast around the world, it will be a national event with an American focus.

It will begin at mid-morning and will still be going on late into the evening. Members of the panel will take breaks from time to time, but the press conference will go on uninterrupted until the fatigue of all participants, press and panel, will bring it to an end.

The Paradigm Clock will be set to midnight.

Within a week, the Congress will begin a series of fact finding hearings on the UFO/ET subject matter and related issues that will go on for several years.

Note: Knowledgeable readers will be wondering, “what happened to open congressional hearings before and forcing the disclosure event?” Good question. The people who run the United States government are, contrary to the opinion of some, not stupid.   This includes the UFO/ET management team.   They are sufficiently wise to know they do not want to be forced into a disclosure event by congressional hearings. If they do not act, those hearings are going to take place.   So they will act.

What should happen

While the disclosure event will certainly reflect the reality of human foibles and the imperfection in this world, if ever there was a time to rise above the behavioral status quo, this will be it.

First and foremost, it has to be the truth. If leaking is an art form in Washington, lying is a science. Some individuals at the initial disclosure event and in the subsequent hearings will lie and they will regret it. The level of complexity of this subject matter and the degree of scrutiny to which it will be subjected will make lying to serve ulterior agendas a risky and foolish choice.

It needs to be global. Logistics will likely prevent a proper globalization of this event in which the United Nations and a host of other countries are direct participants at the outset.   In a world in which national and religious divisions are often close cousins, a strong association between the extraterrestrial presence and one country or one religion is not desirable.

It needs to incorporate the UFO/ET research community. The temptation to shut out the thousands of people worldwide who have pressed for the truth in this matter for 50 years will be great. They serve as constant reminders of certain institutional failures.           Whether in or out, they are not going away.

Truth, global cooperation, inclusiveness – these are virtues of the new paradigm. What better time to embrace them then the event that ushers in that new world?

Put me down for $100 million on Disinformation in the fifth

October 10, 2000
Stephen Bassett

“Regarding disclosure, if you picked the military industrial complex and our  more years, YOU LOSE.”
                     Warner Wolf (ok, he never said that, but if he  was a UFO guy,  he woulda said it. Betcha.)

Washington, DC – Before going further, it would be best if any impressionable small children left the room and sharp objects were placed out of reach – just to be on the safe side. It’s going to get ugly.

When you were a kid, if you’re over 50, it was called “propaganda.” The evil Sovietskies were masters at it. If a government and its controlled press feeds people a bunch of baloney, the people make sandwiches and feast on it every time. By the time the 60’s came along you were getting a little suspicious your own government was maybe in the baloney business, too. You were right.

Who knows why people do this?   In the sixteen and seventeen hundreds (as the recent movie “Patriot” has reminded us) the ruling class told people the way you fight a war with honor is to march out into a field shoulder to shoulder, without cover, stand a few yards from the enemy’s lines and shoot at them in ordered cadences. The enemy would do the same. Amazingly hundreds of thousands of perfectly sane men did exactly that and were slaughtered. Level 1 of Doom II was harder. The generals remained in the background, of course, marveling at the raw, stupid courage of these baloney eaters and wondering what they would have for dinner.   Pheasant perhaps, with a nice pâté, certainly not baloney – they just serve it, they don’t eat it.

It goes on. Recently the fine leaders of Yugoslavia informed their loyal citizenry it was time to kill all the Albanians. “No problem, let me finish this pastry, I’ll be right with you.” In Rwanda, some minister goes on the radio and informs the Hutus its time to get out the machetes and kill all the Tutsis who, sadly, had all been possessed by demons. “Sure, just a second, that machete is around here somewhere.”

Because the word propaganda had been so thoroughly associated with communist countries, another term was needed for its practice in the United States – disinformation, which as it turned out, needed a cousin, misinformation, to fully describe the subtleties of the art.   These should probably be combined into one word, dismisinformation, which has the added benefit of describing exactly what one has to do if one is to be led into some new manner of idiocy.

It is notable the UFO/ET research movement was front and center in bringing the terms disinformation and misinformation to the general public’s attention. The United States is a sophisticated nation with sophisticated, educated citizens. No one is going to be foolish enough to try and sell the old “target practice” theory of warfare to this group.

No, they are going to sell you on putting nuclear, laser and even chemical weapons into space. Pitch taking the product of 10,000 years of technological development in the making of arms, the finest fruit of the Homo Sapien brain, and put it into orbit where it can be properly exercised before introducing it to the rest of the galaxy.         And guess what, many of you, most of you, are going to slap some lettuce, tomato and mayo on that order and wolf it down.

Now, you don’t serve up a load of crap entrée like that without a soup, salad and appetizer. Which, of course, brings us to PAC’s, lobbyists and soft money.

PAC’s, Lobbyists and Soft Money

Lobbyists are the root of evil in American civic life. Get rid of them and justice will emerge from the milieu of politics like the risen Phoenix. BALONEY.

Get rid of lobbyists and the nation will fall on its ass.   What exactly are a group of concerned citizens to do? There are umpteen thousand issues at play at any given time. The average member of congress has maybe mastered a few dozen (optimistic). A hundred of you desperately want your issue advanced (dam this river, stop this logging, end this tax, build this monument), so you all jump on a plane, fly to Washington, spend a few $million and wander around the Capitol like a deer herd foraging for tree bark. Take a few meetings, fly home and wait for the action to begin. Not.

Ok, you could pay one of your members to become expert on the issue and move to Washington to press the case on a consistent basis, week in, week out. You’ll save a fortune and still have a life. No, wait, then that person would be a lobbyist.

Can’t do that. Lobbyists bribe office holders, drag them off to golf junkets, serve them really good, gourmet baloney and mesmerize these poor public servants with their dazzling rhetoric.

The wealthy ruling elite love this stuff.   Gawd how they love it. If every lobbyist was stuffed into a fleet of space shuttles and launched to the moon, thousands of public interest issues would be disemboweled. Meanwhile the private and corporate money would still be able to influence governance in a thousand ways before the average Jane and Joe had their teeth brushed in the morning.

Get it. Spread disinformation about lobbying and lobbyists and convince the average person they’re the problem. Pretty soon you reduce the entire realm of social activism to the writing of letters to the editor.

Ok, maybe lobbyists provide a valuable service. But the PAC’s, the PAC’s, now there is the real evil. PAC politics is ruining the nation.   What a terrible idea – a formal entity empowered by the Federal Election Commission to receive donations (only from individuals), educate the public and influence governance. BALONEY.

Every single social concern in the country has a PAC.  A million individuals can target such a concern, and for $10 a person, bring enormous pressure on the Congress to act when it would rather just adjourn. But all those huge corporations and special interest groups pouring money into their PAC’s would be muzzled if all PAC’s were gone. Right? Wrong. All those corporations and special interests would still have huge bank accounts. It’s the poor, the disenfranchised, the persecuted, the average Joe and Jane – meaning you – who are out of the game. A committee is a matter of right to assemble. Politics is how things get done. Action is what makes the world go round. So a political action committee is how you direct resources to make the nation better.

The two political parties and their candidates will rail against the terrible PAC’s and evil lobbyists. They mean it, right?  Wrong. It’s disinformation. They want you eat that baloney and not send your $10 to a PAC that might bust their chops about something actually important. PAC’s are not going anywhere. The influence of the moneyed elite is not going anywhere. They want you to hate PAC’s and lobbyists so you don’t go anywhere.

If a PAC breaks the law, if a lobbyist makes a bribe, if money is raised illegally, put people in jail, take away the registration. Just don’t buy the baloney.

Ok, ok. So maybe law abiding PAC’s and lobbyists are actually good things in American society. But soft money, ah, soft money, that is truly the root of all political evil. Right? Wrong again.

Soft money is the reason elections cost so much. Right? Wrong. Elections cost too much because the public pays too much. It’s the same reason guys batting .275, who can’t throw to first base, are making $3 million a year in the Major League.

The gawd awful primary season has been stretched out so long the campaigns last for a year or longer. Some winners just start campaigning again the day after the election. Shorten the campaign season to three months and watch the costs go down.

Some fool spends two generations of inherited wealth to run for dogcatcher, and the public votes him in. Why not vote in the other candidate? She spent a couple thousand dollars and actually has some very good positions. Reward grotesque spending with victory and watch it grow.

Yeah, but what about all those soft money ads spouting all those ideas you don’t like about candidates you do like. What about it?   It’s called free speech. Money is speech.   Information, the truth, persuasion, ideas, debate – it all costs money. Don’t like what those ads say? Don’t support that party. Don’t support those ideas. If a political party wants to spend $100 million airing ludicrous ads on your TV, it’s ok, it’s the First Amendment. Turn them off and vote for the other party.

Campaign finance reform is one of the truly ingenious disinformation efforts of our time.   Both parties tell you how much it is needed, work you up about evil dollars being spent by evil people. At the same time they are turning you off to lobbying and political action committees. If you buy into this scam, you lose two of the most important political tools available to help make a better country, and they get to cut back on their soft money raising by having it replaced with tax funded dollars out of your pockets – the dollars they don’t want you to give to a lobbyist or to a PAC pressing an issue you care about. And they get to keep all of their personal money to influence the nation’s business in ways you can only dream about.

PAC’s, lobbyists and soft money aren’t the problem with electoral politics in America. Baloney is the problem, along with the people who keep buying it, when, with a little thought, they could be having a really fine vegetarian lasagna.