The origins of The Golden Ganesh, as a radio drama, were fourfold. First, I fell in love with radio drama because of Max Schmid’s WBAI show, The Golden Age of Radio. I especially liked the noir dramas: Nero Wolf, The Adventures of Sam Spade , Candy Matson (the only female detective in the bunch), and most of all, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
The second origin of the project came in the spring of 2007, when JeannieGrrrl, a whiz at finding cool and interesting freeware, alerted me to an application called “Audacity.” I immediately put it to work, transferring as much of my music from analog to digital—with varying degrees of quality.
The third came May of 2008 in the form of an invitation extended to me by Monique Caddy of Middle Ditch. Superbly written, acted and directed, I immediately fell in love with this radio serial. Of course, I was a bit envious too. They weren’t just doing what I dreamed of doing. They were (and still are) kicking ass at it.
Upon hearing Middle Ditch, I began to fantasize about gathering all my friends, doing a radio drama, and posting it on the web. But I had a problem. Many of my old friends had left New York. Although we still keep in touch, they were no longer present. I then thought, “Well I have cyberfriends. Maybe there’s a way to....”
And then I thought, “It would never work.”
Even if I managed to get everyone to record their lines, there would be varying mic and recording standards. And because the actors weren’t together, I imagined that they would interpret the action and their lines so differently that they would sound as though they were reading different scripts, from different stories. Worse yet, how could I splice them all together so that they sounded at least remotely coherent?
And then I thought, “Audacity!!!”
It occurred to me the very same software I had been using for music, I could use for this. Instead of splicing mp3s together, I could multitrack the actors, as if they were musical instruments. And since Audacity lets you equalize, compress and cosmetically improve sounds, you can blend multiple standards together more smoothly.
And then I thought, “Nah. It won’t work.”
Supposing I could find a way to match recordings. I still would have to enlist the help of you, my cyberpals. It would be presumptuous of me to think that just because I wanted to do it, you wanted to do it. I imagined interest in doing a project like this would be lukewarm and non-existent—that is, until the fourth origin kicked in.
Following the disastrous post of June 6, 2008—an anticipated live feed from the COPA conference on the RFK assassination got cut off at the source (Los Angeles)—JohnB and I had a lengthy IM chat. I casually mentioned doing a radio drama, and I sensed his enthusiasm for it. IMing Foam a few days later, and getting a similar response, I thought that maybe, such a project might fly.
Academics by-and-large have the opinion that the Internet is primarily a networking tool, not one that actually builds communities. But I had already gone on record with my belief that cyberspace really mimics meatspace social interaction, and thus communities form nonetheless. I’d always said that people who had never met could develop emotional attachments to each other, and rally ‘round a central node in their own patch of WWW. They could do things that meatspace communities do. Whether it was a quilting bee or an I-gotta-barn type of production, they could produce cultural artifacts.
And then I thought, “It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, X.”
In July 2008, I floated the proposal for doing a radio drama, just to see if you guys would be interested. Some of you weren’t (which is cool too; somebody has to be in the audience, after all), but enough of you were. I still had grave doubts that it would ever become a reality. But at least we would give it a try.
Then something happened. I got the first mp3 from Pjazzypar playing the role of the Captain. Before reciting her lines, she deftly picked apart the scene, its significance, and so on. Needless to say, her performance was wonderful.
And then I thought, “That’s cool. Too bad her effort’s probably in vain.”
But then more recordings began to trickle in from JohnB, Holy Cannoli, Foam, Boneman, SJ and K9. I began playing around with them in Audacity to see if they had any continuity. To my astonishment, time-and-again the actors were on the same page, both literally and metaphorically. Without rehearsal, without talking to each other, they were eerily in sync.
And then I thought, “It would be cool if this actually worked.”
At the time, we still didn’t have a star. I was almost resigned to performing the lead role myself (which I didn’t want to do) when Ricardo stepped in. This was the critical step in the whole process. The role of The Detective serves as the glue that holds the drama togethe. And it makes a big difference when you have a trained actor in that part. I didn’t get my first recording from him until September 2008. When I did, I put together the first rough episode cut featuring Ricardo, and Holy Cannoli.
And then I thought, “This could really work.””
Pjazzypar did yeoman’s service in taking on additional characters. K9, first content to do a bit part, took on the additional role of Felicity. JeannieGrrrl then submitted her recordings for the role of Lynn. In the second rough cut made for The Golden Ganesh (episode seven) I heard a really neat chemistry develop between Jean and K9 as twin femmes fatales.
Still, we needed more actors for key roles, most importantly that of Dee von Zelle. In the novel that I cannibalized into the radio script, Dee was Australian because her prototype (who loved the character and the story) was Australian. After a certain point, enough actors had alluded to Dee and her nationality, that I couldn’t change her into anything else without issuing a second script and asking people to re-record (talk about a pain in the can). Then too, I had always had our friend down under, FATTY, in mind for the role. But the demands of academia prevented her from participating. Still, she helped us out in this mad search for Dee, along with Boneman, Ricardo, Crushed by Ingsoc, Monique and myself. Some good came out of this. I met Aggie through the search, and she’s a welcome contributor to The X-Spot. Still, we had no Dee.
Other actors bowed out for good reasons (meatspace pressures, technical issues, etc.), which I kinda expected. I finally decided to go to the high seas to find the players I needed. In cyber terminology, “the high seas” translates roughly into Craigslist.
I put an ad in the local (NYC) Craigslist. I didn’t find Dee, but I found an extraordinarily talented actor named Pamela Ringgold. Pamela will prove to you the old adage, “There are no small parts, just small actors.” After moving to DC, another found two veteran voice actors—Paul Weaver and Amy Insley—to take the roles of Mountie Smythe and Col. Smith. Both of them did an outstanding job—but then again, those two know what they’re doing. We also got an amazing performance from up-and-coming comedian Ravi Khanna. Still, we didn’t have a Dee.
And then I thought, “This is gonna work if it kills me.”
Lauren Ash-Morgan answered the DC Craigslist ad seeking a bit role. As a graduate student studying languages, however, she had a decent ear for accents. A very talented performer and gifted musician, she transformed into Dee quite nicely. It took some time. After all, she’s finishing up a master’s degree (some of us know what that’s like, right?), so she had more important things to do. But upon listening to her first submission (which she did over again, because of technical reasons), I decided to wait for her, and for good reason. To paraphrase a character from Seinfeld, she’s real, and she’s spectacular.
After Pinetop Swamp knocked out the announcements, we finally reached the point where I can honestly tell you that the next post, here on The X-Spot, will kick off The Golden Ganesh. On behalf of the cast and myself, we hope you enjoy it.
The dissemination of the MJ-12 Documents came about from men working in the field of military intelligence. Because this and other documents originated from a specific individual, namely an AFOSI sergeant named Richard Doty, it could be easy to see as his hoax, and his hoax alone. What negates this hypothesis, however, is the fact that others are working towards the same end. Moreover, unlike Doty, these were commissioned officers.
Normally, sergeants don’t give orders to captains, colonels and generals. Usually, it’s the other way around. For that reason alone, I’m quite sure that Doty’s attempts to peddle the story of MJ-12 to ufologist Linda Moulton Howe and others did not happen at his own initiative. Then again, what sway would Captain Robert Collins (aka Condor) have over Colonels William Coleman and George Weinbrenner, or Generals Robert Scott and Glenn Miller?
The most plausible mundane explanation for these events is that two intelligence generals got bored, and organized a prank with their subordinates. Yet even this seems highly doubtful given the context of MJ-12 disclosure. MJ-12 wasn’t the first attempt by military intelligence officers to disseminate “confidential” information among ufologists. Preceded by the spurious Project SNOWBIRD and the equally unlikely Project AQUARIUS, MJ-12 represented simply another tall tale by authorities (or intelligence-friendly companies) “off the record,” culminating in the disclosure of such things as alien autopsy films.*
In short, we have numerous government officials spinning outrageous tales of alien interaction on Earth. Col. Coleman, Capt. Collins and Sgt. Doty have appeared before cameras to tell us these stories. The actions of others have been well documented by such credible ufologists as Dr. Jacques Valleee and Dr. J. Allen Hynek. And since the materials these brass provided were proven fraudulent in the end, we have but two questions. (1) Were these men acting on their own, or in accordance to official policy? (2) If they acted under orders, what did their superiors intend for them to achieve?
Evidence suggests that these men did not act on their own, but under the auspices of someone higher up. After all, Col. Coleman affirms his belief (as an insider) of UFOs within the halls of the Pentagon itself in front of Allan Sandler and Robert Emenegger’s film crew. It’s not like he could have just snuck them in for an unnoticed visit. Someone had to approve their presence. Likewise, someone had to permit Moulton Howe’s visit to the AFOSI at Kirtland AFB, or at least known the substance of her meetings with Sgt. Doty, especially since she wrote about them. Granted, security’s tighter these days because of 9/11. But even before then one had to show ID, state a person of contact and a purpose to gain access to a military facility. Showing up with a film crew, especially at military headquarters, simply isn’t going to happen on the spur of the moment. So this should dispel any notions that these officers operated in the shadows, as far as their peers were concerned. Most important, this indicates that not just one but many of Col. Coleman’s superiors approved of his actions in allowing Sandler and Emenegger to film at this most secure installation.
Moreover, the attempt to pass off bogus information extends beyond the careers of these individuals, and continued long after their involvement with military intelligence, through such companies as Disney who had a long establish relationship with Intel. Furthermore this appeared to be a rather extensive effort, as witnessed by numerous ufologists contacted by people representing the government.
One ufologist, Lee Graham, almost accidentally, gathered compelling evidence that surreptitious UFO disclosure from seemingly credible sources. More important, he gave us good reason to believe that the United States government actively attempted to formulate the main discourse within ufology.
In 1985, Graham, an amateur ufologist, worked for a defense contractor, Aerojet Electrosystems, in Azusa, CA. As part of his job, he had to adhere to all security laws, among them DOD Regulation 5200.I-R, which requires personnel, upon coming across a document bearing what appears to be a classification stamp, to report it immediately. So, when someone flashing a Defense Investigative Service (DIS—now officially known as the Defense Security Service, or DSS) badge approached him with documents pertaining to MJ-12, he turned them over to his superiors. He also spoke to ufologist Barry Greenwood, who in December of 1975 published the first article on MJ-12 a year-and-a-half before the 24th Annual UFO Conference in San Francisco, where Bill Moore, Jaime Shandera and Stanton Friedman made the MJ-12 documents available to the public.
The following year, Graham showed Greenwood more documents pertaining to SNOWBIRD and AQUARIUS. Lee later received a visit from two DIS agents, who interviewed him about his contact with the other DIS agent. Greenwood gave them all the information he could.
Early in 1987, months before the UFO Conference, Graham learned the identity of the DIS agent who gave him the secret documents. The “government agent” in question turned out to be Bill Moore. Curiously, Moore confirmed that he did approach Graham with MJ-12 documents, and that he posed as a DIS agent under an assumed name.
Moore explained that he was simply joking. Joking or not, impersonating a federal agent is a serious crime, a federal offense, a felony. Yet, despite Graham’s cooperation with DIS, and despite Moore’s admission, no one seemed interested in prosecuting Bill. For many ufologists, this seemed to indicate that Moore actually did some work on behalf of DIS, or promoted whatever agenda it had.
Later in 1987, Graham received a visit from FBI Special Agent William Hurley, and another man, whom he later identified (with the help of C.B. Scott-Jones, an aide to recently deceased Senator Claiborne Pell) as Maj. General Michael Kirby (USAF). Instead of running him over the coals for talking to Greenwood, or for ratting out Moore, the officials congratulated him for leaking MJ-12. They then showed him photos of the then top-secret stealth fighter (F-117 Nighthawk), apparently so he could disseminate info about that too.
Graham later took the documents he had and sent them to the office of newly elected VP Dan Quayle so that he could finally get an answer to whether or not the MJ-12 documents were classified. Dale Hartig, head of Public Affairs for DIS, responded, saying that the MJ-12 documents were unclassified. DIS subsequently indicated that they nevertheless came from a government source.
The Graham incident illustrates the depth of the effort sustained by US Intel to develop UFO lore to its own benefit. More than simply a few scattered individuals, this effort stretched across jurisdictions, agencies, and rank. It required the dismissal of possible crimes committed, the use of secure government facilities, and propping up of an individual within ufology who remained sympathetic to their goals: namely, Moore. For whatever reason, it seems far more likely than not that the dissemination of fraudulent UFO information originated in government policy.
The question remains as to why. Once government involvement becomes clear, the plausible answers are limited.
One plausible explanation offered by some: military intelligence wanted to test how information spread among underground networks, in case leaks to upcoming projects (most important at this time, the stealth fighter and bomber) occurred.
Explanation two: government officials wanted to discredit the UFO community once and for all. This could have occurred for a number of reasons, among them the danger of “flying saucer nuts” starting a panic out of an innocent anomaly, the threat of accidentally disclosing secret projects (again stealth), or the possibility that ufologists are right, and the government is in some type of secret alliance with off-world factions.
In case that last reason throws you, you have to keep in mind that the government has done things like that before. In their 1974 book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence former-CIA Deputy Director special assistant Victor Marchetti and State Department official John Marks described a rather inventive method used by the Agency to protect it from evidence that would prove misconduct. In 1967, when an internal document revealing the CIA’s illegal involvement with the attempted overthrow of Indonesian President Sukarno was on the verge of being leaked to the press, the Company hastily drafted an obvious forgery to show reporters before the real item could surface. After the officials pointed out the mistakes, reporters dismissed the real McCoy as just another fake when it finally surfaced.
Explanation three: MJ-12 and other alien disclosures become a red herring, leading away from a trail that could very well end at the misappropriation of public monies, controversial technologies, liability, or treaty violations. For example, the presumed reason for secrecy around Area 51 (Nellis AFB Groom Lake Facility) allowed President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to forbid, by Executive Order, investigation of two deaths caused at the facility through negligence. And if the public begins to think that massive cost overruns in defense spending could result from the building of secret UFO facilities (a notion advanced by the movie Independence Day), then they might not be so inclined to investigate such blatant profiteering.
Explanation four, from Michael Mannion’s theory of mindshift: the devastation that an advanced society could have upon a less advanced one is well documented within our own history. So, in order to apprise the public of an alien presence on Earth, government officials would have to somehow get Earthlings “up to speed,” as it were. By releasing MJ-12 in such a way that they could easily discredit the revelation later, officials could float the idea of human-alien contact without declaring that it’s actually happened.**
Final explanation, the thesis of Report from Iron Mountain: in order to maintain the status quo without resorting to constant warfare, those sponsoring the anonymous collaborative study suggested that UFOs (maybe from burgeoning US technology, or technology developed by the Nazis during the tail end of World War II) could serve as a war substitute, either because of its potential to draw the public interest closer to the interests of those in power, or because of its potential to serve as the basis of a new religion.
Of course, these explanations aren’t mutually exclusive. And they might not be exhaustive. These are the only explanations I can think of. If you can think of some, Ill add them to the list.
As for now, I’m out of explanations. So this series ends here.
*I say films (plural) because I had originally thought to introduce an additional alien autopsy movie from Russia, allegedly depicting the 1969 recovery from the UFO incident referred to by the locals as Sverdlovsky’s Midget. It’s more difficult to debunk that particular film, than the one presented by Ray Santilli. I didn’t include it here, though, because I thought it might merit its own series.
** By now, you’ve probably surmised that I’m not a big believer in the alien hypothesis in respect to UFOs. Still, I have to account for the possibility that it is accurate correct. If so, mindshift seems the most plausible explanation. Regardless, one has to consider it as a possible explanation.
For Paper Mountain’s Majesty: Applied Rational Superstition
Report from Iron Mountain demonstrates a thorough understanding of academic procedure and style. Whether real or fake, whoever worked on it had to have been quite adept at the conventions of scholarship. Still, I could point you to a number of academics who would view it as BS on so many grounds, and on so many levels. For starters, war doesn’t bring people together. It tears them apart, both metaphorically and literally. Furthermore, wars leave behind scorched Earth, unrealized human potential (a private killed in combat might have one day found the cure for cancer had she lived, for instance), the draining of economies, and the total wrecking of infrastructures. Sure, people rebuild after conflicts. If they live in a more stable civilization afterwards, it’s only because they have come to the realization that they don’t want to go back into combat.
The only way Report from Iron Mountain could be valid is if, as Jim Marrs points out, you add one proviso to it: war stabilizes civilization only in the sense that it preserves the distribution of power within that society. In that light, and only that light, does Report from Iron Mountain make any sense. For those at the top to maintain the status quo, there must be war and more war on top of that. After all, the numerous no-bid contracts granted to Halliburton and other favored companies didn’t help the global economy one whit, much less that of the United States. In fact, it simply channeled tax dollars into the hands of fewer people, thus making them wealthier and stronger in terms of their position in overall society.
War’s good for something else. It can provide the basis for public manipulation by authorities. Control through eternal conflict served as the overall theme of Report from Iron Mountain. But the concept didn’t originate there. A RAND Corporation research memo published seventeen years earlier came to the same opinion.
Dated April 14, 1950, “The Exploration of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare” summarized the issues involved with the use of superstition in PSYOPS. Looking back at sociological trends during World War II, the author, Jean Hungerford, noted a correlation between the uncertainties of war and superstition. The more the air raids knocked holes in the English landscape during the Battle of Britain, the more important soothsayers, palm readers and astrologists became in everyday life. She also saw a special susceptibility in totalitarian societies because, as she implied, such regimes either eliminated or restricted religion in deference to a quasi-spiritual belief in the state. Even though people from all walks of life might be vulnerable to superstitious beliefs and behaviors, she found a greater degree in correlation to class and education. In other words, the poorer and less educated you were, the more superstition played a role in your life.
Most important, the tendency to resort to superstition increases during a period of sociological distress—e.g., natural disasters, armed conflict near one’s home, economic downturns, et cetera.
During the 1950s, the West certainly faced stress from Cold War pressures, most notably the possibility that nuclear war could happen any second—a scare that not only led to record sales for home bomb shelters, but influenced culture in any number of ways. At the same time, during this period, the powers that be seemed more concerned with maintaining order at home, whether that entailed Senator Joseph McCarthy accusing the State Department, the Army and Hollywood of being Soviet fifth columns, HUAC investigations into rock and roll as a symptom of societal decay, or southern law enforcements repeated attempts to quell opposition to Jim Crow.
Hungerford’s memo, as the title suggests, focuses on the ability to exploit superstition within an enemy. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the US government often treated its citizenry as the enemy, as evidenced in such escapades as Operation CHAOS, Project MK-ULTRA, and the FBI’s COINTELPRO. But as she asserts later in the eighteen-page memo, the key to finding a workable superstition lay in finding one that actually resonated with the targeted society.
PSYOPS Policy Statement #36, prepared by the Joint United States Public Affairs Office (JUSPAO), concurred with Hungerford’s last finding, and elaborated upon it. Dated May 10, 1967, “The Use of Superstitions in Psychological Operations in Vietnam” cautioned the potential psy operator to:
(1) Confirm that the belief is real among the target population--Westerners might profess a belief in Santa, or Father Christmas, but we don’t take it seriously past a certain age.
(2) Confirm that the PSYOP will lead to the intended result—make sure your enemy will run from zombies, not pump them full of lead.
(3) Confirm that the belief is homogenous in the society—no matter how powerful among believers, never use a superstition that a significant portion of the population dismisses as hogwash.
(4) Prepare for credibility tests--if you try to convince an enemy that you’re a powerful magician, you’d better be able to pull a rabbit out of your ass.
(5) Balance the success of the PSYOP with the risk of exposure—form a Plan B if your attempt winds up exposed, either by incompetent execution, media disclosure, or by repeating the trick so often the enemy figures it out.
(6) Individual operators/combat personnel must not decide on their own to use superstition PSYOPS—“No PSYOP campaign in your area of superstition will be undertaken without JUSPAO/MACPD [Military Assistance Command Political Warfare Advisory Directorate] approval.”
(7) Respect the beliefs and superstitions of friendly forces.
“The Exploration of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare,” PSYOP Policy #37 and the iffy Report from Iron Mountain all agree that the potency of a superstition PSYOP lies in its believability among large segments of the population. At the same time, the superstition has to fall in line with the beliefs, values and culture of the target.
Finding a controllable superstition in a post-industrial, post-modern, well educated, logocentric culture such as ours might prove challenging. After all, most of us no longer believe in elves, imps, unicorns, sprites, leprechauns, fairies, satyrs, headless horsemen or bugbears. That’s because we have an implicit belief in science--culturally, if not individually. Whatever superstitions we possess would have to have a scientific or quasi-scientific basis.
So what’s easier for us to believe? That a bunch of little green men come out of the rainbow and leave us with a pot of gold? Or that a bunch of little gray men come from outer space to stick probes up our noses for the sake of research? That a bunch of elves and fairies zap into and out of our existence into a supposed state of non-existence, or that an intelligent race could have reliably exploited the wormholes described by Albert Einstein, and traveled to Earth from lightyears away?
For Paper Mountain’s Majesty: The Authority of the State
Edited for clarity 6/23/09
The authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers
--Lt. Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
Now largely considered a hoax, the anonymously written 1967 book Report from Iron Mountain: On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace offered what purported to be a fascinating insight into the thoughts of those most powerful. The author, an unnamed Midwestern academic referred to by the editors of Dial Press as ‘John Doe,’ claimed that he had taken part in a covert study group (dubbed the Special Study Group, or SSG) initiated by President John Kennedy and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. According to this report, Kennedy and McNamara wanted to formulate strategies on how to create and maintain world peace.
Comprised of fourteen scholars and one defense contractor, the SSG came to a rather startling conclusion. After an endless series of computerized “peace games” (similar to data-crunching war games, but with the winning objective of permanently ending conflict), the members all opined that world peace was not only impossible, but dangerous. War, as repugnant as it is, provided a number of stabilizing functions for the civilized society. Without war, they argued, economies would collapse because the production and sales necessary to build a war machine had tentacles to all sorts of other financial interests. Beating tanks into plowshares would lead to a chain reaction of business failures. Furthermore, war provided political benefits in terms of ideological and moral clarification, thus leading to public loyalty and forbearance to the political system that ran it. Sociologically, war provided a secure place for “antisocial” elements of society, misfit killers who would presumably cause chaos if left with the general population. Although an unpleasant “truth,” war offered ecological benefits because it killed off “excess” men and women, thus prohibiting or reducing their ability to reproduce, thereby lowering the amount of food, water, energy and other resources that a society needs to sustain itself.
Of course, everyone (except the truly twisted) regards war as the epitome of evil. So the SSG began to formulate what they called “war substitutes,” or in other words conditions that could satisfy the individual functions that war served. Among these would be the creation of economic systems predicated on the necessity of waste (i.e., continual planned obsolescence), the re-institution of slavery, the state-organized abuse of ethnic and religious minorities, and the introduction of new religions. The SSG didn’t, however, seem to take the possibility of even these measures very seriously:
Here is the basic weakness of the social-welfare [war] surrogate. On the short-term basis, a maximum program of this sort could replace a normal military spending program, provided it was designed, like the military model, to be subject to arbitrary control. Public housing starts, for example, or the development of modern medical centers might be accelerated or halted from time to time, as the requirements of a stable economy might dictate. But on the long-term basis, social-welfare spending, no matter how often redefined, would necessarily become an integral, accepted part of the economy, of no more value as a stabilizer than the automobile industry or old age and survivors’ insurance. Apart from whatever merit social-welfare programs are deemed to have for their own sake, their function as a substitute for war in the economy would thus be self-liquidating. They might serve, however, as expedients pending the development of more durable substitute measures.
In 1972, Leonard Lewin, the man credited with writing the introduction claimed that he penned Report from Iron Mountain in its entirety as a hoax, a satire. Curious thing, though: he did this in the context of decrying the Pentagon Papers as a similar hoax. Lewin stated in effect that since he confessed his deception in Report from Iron Mountain, Daniel Ellsberg, who presented copies of the similarly themed Pentagon Papers to The Washington Post and The New York Times, should be man enough to reveal his hoax too.
Obviously, the irony here lay in the fact that ample evidence would shortly emerge proving the Pentagon Papers to be anything but a hoax. They were quite real. Furthermore, they represented the type of work produced by the very kind of secret study group John Doe and his peers allegedly participated in.
Before I go on, I should note that the premises, assumptions and conclusions presented in Report on Iron Mountain are seriously flawed for reasons I will address in the next post. Be that as it may, however, that doesn’t preclude the possible existence of John Doe, his SSG, and the study itself. A number of factors lend to its credibility, starting with its publisher. Dial Press was no fly-by-night operation, but a respected house featuring some of the most important writers of their generation. Founded in 1923, it currently exists as a subsidiary of Bantam/Dell (no relation). After checking out its citations and noting its scholarly style, firm President Richard Baron and noted author E.L. Doctorow, then an editor at Dial, agreed to release the book as non-fiction.
Further corroboration came in the form of an a-list economist, Dr. John Kenneth Galbraith (Harvard), who confirmed in several sources, among them a review of Report from Iron Mountain appearing in the Washington Post, that he had personally consulted with the SSG in question. Galbraith denied writing the report himself, suggesting that the final draft might have been done by Lewin, US Ambassador Clare Booth Luce, or US Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
Then too, as Jim Marrs wrote in his 2000 book Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids, one can see many of the recommendations of the SSG coming to pass. The introduction of New Age occultism, especially as spearheaded by the well-connected Lucis Trust, the expansion of the penal system into an over-representative minority populated quasi slave-labor camps (with inmates earning anywhere between nine cents to a dollar per hour working for large corporate firms), and the seduction of the poor and disadvantaged to enlist in the military in order to secure a college education and job preferences seem perfectly consistent with this hypothesis.
Then again, when one gets down to the nitty-gritty, perhaps it doesn’t matter if Report from Iron Mountain is a hoax or not. Any astute social critic might have come to see the study’s recommendations as inevitable. Any hawk, believing in the necessity of the Vietnam War—especially because of his/her financial interest--could have asserted a bunch of silly things as inept alternatives to violence to further his/her own agenda.
“But wait, X. Dell,” you’re saying to yourself (probably numerous times by now), “What does this have to do with MJ-12, alien autopsies and the like?”
Well, as a possible “war substitute,” the SSG proposed fabricating a potential conflict between us Earthlings and a non-existent alien race. That way, people around the globe would organize to support their leaders (as in the movie Independence Day), who would then offer them protection in the form of weapons and pretty words in exchange for loyalty and obedience.
In other words, they proposed a psychological operation (PSYOP), one in which they would pull the strings of a fictional beast, a paper tiger whose growl would frighten the people of the Earth into seeking the protection of a metaphorical parent-figure—i.e., the established authority.
While the SSG seriously considered a false alien conflict as a possible “war substitute,” they realized that it had one major problem to overcome: namely, the difficulty in getting large enough segments of society to believe in a manufactured extraterrestrial threat:
Credibility, in fact, lies at the heart of the problem of developing a political substitute for war. This is where the space-race proposals, in many ways so well suited as economic substitutes for war, fall short. The most ambitious and unrealistic space project cannot of itself generate a believable external menace. It has been hotly argued that such a menace would offer the ‘last, best hope of peace,’ etc., by uniting mankind against the danger of destruction by ‘creatures’ from other planets or from outer space. Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat; it is possible that a few of the more difficult-to-explain ‘flying saucer’ incidents of recent years were in fact early experiments of this kind. If so, they could hardly have been judged encouraging....
Okay. So not only can one dispute (actually, rip to shreds) the findings of Report from Iron Mountain, but also dispute its authorship, origins, purpose, and effects. Because we have no reason to take Report from Iron Mountain at its word, we can only say, “Well, that’s interesting,” and subsequently think of something more important, such as video games or HNT photos.
Still, we have other provably non-fictional studies that outline the potential of UFOs as a brilliant PSYOP, designed for the purpose of depicting the interests of those in power as those of the public.
For Paper Mountain’s Majesty: Yes, But Was It Phony, Maloney? A Mickey Mouse Op?
In 2006, special effects wizard John Humphreys admitted to the press that he had created the aliens used in Ray Santilli’s 1995 alien autopsy movie. In April of that year, Santilli insisted to the Sunday Times of London that he really had obtained actual footage of an alien autopsy. However, because of its poor condition, the movie largely disintegrated when exposed to air.* Santilli consequently decided to recreate the missing pieces using Humphreys’ models and acting skills (he played one of the surgeons). Humphreys apparently worked with stills from the original in order to recreate precisely what he saw.
Santilli’s contention that he really had an original film to work with received some affirmation in the form of statements made by a prominent person who saw an almost identical alien autopsy film. Photographer Dr. Michael Maloney told tabloid documentary producers that he came by it in 1978 when doing some work with Disney. Apparently, one of Disney’s most senior people (presumably animator Ward Kimball) told Maloney about a special film, one which matched that produced by Santilli almost exactly, with one major exception: the first film had a living alien in it.
Figure 1. Dr. Maloney interview
Maloney isn’t a ufologist. And judging from what I can find of his work, he seems to have no ufological agenda to promote, and his colleagues hold him in high esteem. So if the man said that he saw a tape nearly identical to Santilli’s more than a decade before the latter claimed to have such a tape in his possession, then I’m inclined to believe that’s what Maloney saw. In other words, when Santilli said that he fabricated the current alien autopsy tape from a previous one, he could very well be telling the truth. It would seem such a film existed.
The problem here is similar to the ones resulting from the disclosure of the VENONA project back in the 1990s. Scholars, press and even common folks critique the information they receive. Yet that same critical evaluation tends to fly out the window upon receipt of potentially classified or sensitive texts. Nothing in Santilli’s tape (other than its leader) indicates a 1940s origination. It couldn’t. After all, he created this text in the 1990s. As to the original that the film is presumably based on, we should have grave doubts that it too originated in the 1940s. After all, we don’t have that film—and that’s assuming it’s the same one Maloney saw.
If the film did in fact originate from the 1940s, we would still have to seriously doubt its authenticity for the same reasons earlier delineated by Capt. Kevin Randle. Assuming Santilli did a frame-by-frame-copy of the original, we would have no reason to believe the military would violate its own code for filming autopsies, especially considering the purported magnitude of this one.
The question of validity becomes even more doubtful considering that its source is Disney, a corporation known the world over for its extraordinary ability to make the magical seem real. Dr. Maloney doesn’t presume the film he saw depicted actual events. As a veteran cameraman, he seemed far more impressed with the level of skill required to pull off an illusion.
Deeper still, the ties between Disney and US Intel have been well documented, even decades before its acquisition of Capital Cities (CapCities), a company founded by former-Director of Central Intelligence William Casey. Walt Disney had done his fair share of snooping, beginning as an “anti-communist” informant for the FBI as early as 1942.** In 1953, CIA analyst Howard P. Robertson chaired the CIA’s formal investigation of UFOs. He ultimately recommended that the Agency rely upon their associate Walt Disney and his company to “debunk” (Robertson’s word) their existence. Many have since written that the Agency subsequently took no action to refute UFO existence.
Others have disagreed. In his 1996 tome, Hollywood vs. the Aliens, Bruce Rux asserted that Intel disseminated accurate information to such studios as American International Pictures, and such directors as Ed Wood. The purpose here would be to discredit accurate data by presenting them in a series of schlock movies. In a 1966 letter written to Robertson Panel secretary Fred Durant, one member, Dr. Thorton Page, outlined his involvement with the production of a CBS television special hosted by Walter Cronkite. In an essay titled “Disney, UFOs and Disclosure,” Grant Cameron refers to an actual Disney anti-UFO cartoon short in which comedian Jonathan Winters gave voice to multiple characters.
MJ-12, Aquarius and other alleged extraterrestrial research projects came directly from people involved from military intelligence. The alien autopsy film probably came indirectly from an Intel source via a sympathetic corporation—if not more (perhaps Moore?) directly from somewhere else. It also shared other features in common with MJ-12. Both had murky origins. Both seemed impressive at the time, even though both government agents and private citizens offered compelling proof of their falsity shortly thereafter. Both times we have not the original of the text, but rather a copy recreated by its presenter.
*I’m not a photographer/videographer, so I don’t know whether or not this might really happen. I couldn’t find any mention of this in search engine queries. Does anyone know if air can actually destroy developed film? If so, under what conditions?
**As one popular story went, Disney insisted on having a spy name, since he would indeed do spy work. Intel humored him by assigning him the codename ‘X-19’ (no relation).
Right now, we have fifteen out of sixteen episodes of The Golden Ganesh cued up and ready to go. We’ll finish Episode 14 as soon as we get the closing announcements. Barring any unforeseen circumstances or vociferous objections, I will post the first episode of it Friday, July 3 (the first day of the three-day weekend). Since other participants are free to post the series on their websites as well, you’ll be able to catch it here or elsewhere starting then.
I hoping that those of you who participated have lots of Twitter and MySpace pals who’d love to hear your talents. I’d greatly appreciate it if those of you who didn’t participate give us a mention on your sites.
In the meantime, I will finish the series I started before the opportunity to finish the Ganesh emerged.
When we last left off, we watched as a number of government officials—among them Col. William Coleman, Generals Glenn Miller and Robert Scott, Capt. Robert Collins, and Sgt. Richard Doty—seeded information to such UFO researchers as Bill Moore, Paul Bennewitz, Linda Moulton Howe, Robert Emenegger, Allan Sandler, Jacques Vallee and J. Allen Hynek. We also followed a trail of provably fraudulent texts which purportedly (and most likely) came directly or indirectly from government sources: the Project Aquarius documents, Santilli’s alien autopsy film, and, of course, the MJ-12 documents themselves.
The list of government agents who have disclosed UFO information is quite long. Mercury 7 astronaut Col. Gordon Cooper and NSC assistant Lt. Col. Philip Corso have publicly affirmed the existence of UFOs to the public, as have many others. Such officials as John Podesta have indicated a serious cover-up. And then you have people like those mentioned in the previous paragraph, who seem to operate in the shadows (or as literally in the case of Collins and Doty, within the silhouettes).
A question remains whether these officials are acting on their own as maverick pranksters, or simply executing the policy their superiors laid out for them. Either way, the answer leads to more intriguing questions.
I got the last recording from the actress playing Dee. The only recording needed now is the closing announcement for that episode—the announcer couldn’t go ahead with that one until I made a rough cut of it.
Meanwhile, I’ve been busy putting together the last episodes and polishing the rough cuts into final cuts. As it stands now, Episodes 1-9 are already locked and loaded and ready to go on the document host. Hoping to premiere it the first week of July.
Thanks for your patience. I’ll be back to visit you as soon as I finish here.