by Justin Deschamps,
Ufology is the study of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), or as they are being called today, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP). The field is diverse in what it covers, ranging from the study of patents that could reveal the existence of advanced technology covertly developed by governments the world over, UFO sightings, whistleblower testimony, and declassified or otherwise procured documentation. It is this latter category of research that is the focus of the following article, which tells the story of a successful government disinformation campaign from the ’80s.
According to researcher Alejandro Rojas, in the 1980s, a man by the name of Paul Bennewitz lived near Kirtland Airforce base in New Mexico. He reported seeing strange objects in the area to the Air Force, particularly an area where nuclear assets were stored, saying he was also in communication with extraterrestrials. Normally, such reports would be disregarded as nonsense, but the Air Force decided to used this man as a patsy in a disinformation campaign, because he was actually witnessing secret projects. At least this is what FOIA documentation revealed upon the request of Rojas, some years later.
Rojas states the Air Force sent in Special Agent Richard Doty to communicate with Bennewitz, who was likely surprised to be taken seriously after he presented his testimony to the Air Force. Doty was told by his superiors to make Bennewitz believe a hostile alien invasion was about to take place, and was also told to fabricate documents as “proof” to help convince Bennewitz. Doty also gave these hoaxed documents to other UFO researchers.
After some time, Bennewitz checked himself into a mental institution for paranoia, believing an alien invasion was looming. The disinformation campaign worked, Bennewitz was discredited and covert projects run by the Air Force remained secret.
While it isn’t clear if ufology continued to spread the fabricated information, this case stands as a clear example of state-sponsored cover ups.
The FOIA documentation clearly states, according to Rojas, that Doty was under orders to discredit Bennewitz in an effort to cover up the Air Force’s secret activities.
This is a very important piece of history to come to terms with, as it suggests documentation, and other data sources, may not be wholly accurate, and may even be part of a disinformation campaign to muddy the waters.
This isn’t some wild conspiracy theory either, as state-sponsored cover ups are actually legally enforced.
In Dr. Michael Salla’s book, Insiders Reveal Secret Space Programs & Extraterrestrial Alliances, Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (USAPs) are discussed in which participants are given authority to hide their activities from the public. Waived USAPs are a more secretive set of programs not required to report any of their activities or existence for congressional oversight. In these deep-black projects, oral briefs are provided to read-in persons only—those individuals who have a valid need to know. Participants are authorized to deny the existence of these programs under any circumstances, including congressional subpoena, and are provided a cover story to hide the project’s existence.
A supplement to the DoD manual related to special access programs states that cover stories can be generated with the goal of hiding a program’s true purpose.Program Cover stories (UNACKNOWLEDGED Program). Cover stories may be established for unacknowledged programs in order to protect the integrity of the program from individuals who do not have a need to know. Cover stories must be believable and cannot reveal any information regarding the true nature of the contract. (source)This suggests that there were most likely two sets of secret programs, one that was designated deep-black or USAP, and an acknowledged project that would draw public attention. (source)
This is particularly important to know when considering whistleblower testimony, but extends to ufology and other fields in general.
The process of verifying if a claim is true often involves some kind of vetting process. But since ufology is not a formally accepted field of research, the standards used by ufologists vary. Some rely on corroborating testimony and documentation to authenticate a whistleblower, maintaining a healthy amount of doubt to account for such great uncertainty. Others are much less rigorous, making sweeping assumptions that claims are true, resting on one piece of authentication or another.
The vetting process usually goes something like this:
A new whistleblower comes on the scene claiming to have worked for some secret government project that was involved with UFOs, advanced technology, or extraterrestrials. The whistleblower might supply credentials to prove they worked for this or that agency, such as identification papers, pay stubs, memoranda, or work orders—to name a few. These documents are then “authenticated” by an expert in the field of documents, who checks the letterhead, paper quality, as well as other cross-referencing methods to see if what is presented, on the whole, corresponds with what has already been authenticated. For example, if a whistleblower claims to have worked for an aerospace company, producing a work order from the company with their name on it as proof, then an authenticator would take this document and cross-check it against a known body of documents that are regarded as authentic. If everything checks out, then it can be said the person is credible because it was proven they worked for the company they said they did.
At this point, the whistleblower’s testimony, their story, is generally taken to be credible (believable) owing to the fact their work history checked out. And for some ufologists, this is good enough to consider their testimony true, or at least it is more likely to be true. The more respectable researchers usually leave room for doubt in recognition of the fact they can’t confirm the story itself.
But here’s the problem, as was revealed by Rojas FOIA request, documentation can be fabricated. This means that it is possible the body of documents authenticators use to vet new whistleblowers may be tainted with fabricated files.
What’s more, just because someone can prove they worked for a government agency doesn’t mean they are being genuine about the rest of their claims. Doty appeared to Bennewitz as a trusted man working for the government—surely what he said about an alien invasion could be believed, right? But this didn’t turn out to be the case. Doty capitalized on the fact he appeared credible and used this false trust to spread disinformation, which was wildly successful.
Similarly, whistleblowers who appear credible could be providing inaccurate information. They would be doing so either as conscious deceivers or unwittingly as—what are called in some circles—useful idiots. A useful idiot is someone being used by an organization—be they government or otherwise—without their knowledge, often promoting a particular agenda for psychological warfare (PSYOP) purposes, of which, disinformation is a type of PSYOP.
In the case of Doty, Bennewitz became a useful idiot when he believed the alien invasion fabrication, and began spreading it in his circles. The agenda in this case was to discredit him so that no one would believe what he was seeing around the Kirtland base—secret projects related to the Air Force.
Obviously this presents somewhat of a problem for the field of ufology.
There is such a profound lack of hard evidence to draw from (photographs, video, recovered objects from UFOs, genetic material, etc.) that often all researchers have to work with are claims of experiencers and whistleblowers, as well as documentation. The Doty-Bennewitz case proves that both sources can’t be unquestionably trusted—a healthy amount of doubt needs to be maintained.
But it seems not all ufologists exercise this level of doubt. Or, swinging to the otherside of the pendulum, some researchers dismiss claims without a valid basis to do so. But in either case, unsubstantiated acceptance or rejection of a claim, inobjective analysis, leads to poor conclusions. And such conclusions could be mistakenly accepted as facts by other ufologists, who in turn spread them in their circles as true. Eventually, a piece of disinformation could become a “well established fact” through the fallacy of expert consensus. For example, the Rendlesham Forest incident was initially thought to be a genuine extraterrestrial encounter, but some suspect it is more likely that it was a secret government project of some kind.
If consensus was all that was needed to establish a truth, then the world be a much different place. It was generally regarded that the earth was flat during the 16th and 17th centuries, but this didn’t change reality at all. In other words, the truth is not democratic. Consensus could indicate that something is true, but agreement of opinion doesn’t materially demonstrate a theory or claim is true.
Although many researchers do commendable work, and likely have the best intentions, some contend that because a witness has been “vetted” the public can believe whatever they say, without question. Clearly this isn’t advisable as documents can be fabricated and witnesses can lie or be deceived.
What this means for anyone interested in ufology—or for that matter, any field of research fraught with uncertainty or lack of hard evidence—is that one cannot set aside objectivity in their desire to find an answer. Anyone who’s studied ufology long enough realizes the body of data gathered therein is pot marked by false claims, hoaxed photographs and videos, and fabricated documents.
Obviously this doesn’t make it easy to know what is true and what is false. Especially when some researchers present their findings as 100% verified truth, when in fact, they should be presented as open-ended conclusions subject to change, because the evidence used to support them is incomplete.
Contemporaneously, it seems more and more people are becoming curious about UFOs, extraterrestrials, and the discovery of life elsewhere in the cosmos, especially as the mainstream media and science seems to be promoting this idea. As such, it is very important clear and precise tools for evaluating information, in an objective fashion, are shared with the world.
We shouldn’t blindly trust anyone, no matter how credible they might seem. Instead, we would do well to learn how to entertain many different perspectives, claims, and beliefs at once, this way we can compare one data set to another, and recognize when inconsistencies present themselves. It would also be helpful to learn how to evaluate the plausibility of a claim, based on the evidence used to substantiate it.
In general, a claim of truth is substantiated by gathering evidence
within the scope and context the claim applies to. A whistleblower’s
work history only proves that they worked for who they said they did, it
doesn’t substantiate claims made about their experiences.
For example, if someone claimed they were visited by extraterrestrials and offered nothing other than their word, this claim would be almost impossible to verify, yet not disprovable due to lack of evidence—a mistake some researchers succumb to. Conversely, if they provided photographs and video recordings, there would be more weight to their claims. Yet even in this latter case, there is still uncertainty, as media can be fabricated.
Plausibility of a claim, how likely it is of being true, increases as evidence and explanations related to it correspond with reality as a whole. The more resonance there is between what is claimed and the actual truth, the more likely it is true.
Note about personal discernment: Personal experiences, and all the subtle information that pours through them, is also a form of evidence. But such personal accounts are “locked away” in the psyche, which makes it difficult to verify this evidence objectively. So while gut feelings and intuition are real and valid sources of information that could lend credence to another person’s claims, since it can’t be shared objectively (at least at this stage of human development) it often has less weight then hard evidence. And such data sources, often referred to as soul or heart-space discernment, should also correspond with reality and other forms of hard evidence. The truth is holistic or one, and as such, so must the body of evidence one uses to verify a claim, whether “energetic” or otherwise.
For those trying to make sense of the strange field of ufology, it seems advantageous to develop a working knowledge of how to evaluate claims and evidence used to back them. The more we can do this personally, the less likely we’ll be deceived by disinformation campaigns, like what took place at the hands of the Air Force through Richard Doty.
Disinformation tends to spread from person to person because it isn’t evaluated at an individual level, making such persons complicit in the spreading of false information by way of their failure to discern.
Thus, by learning these tools of evaluation ourselves, we help improve fields of research, acting as a check and balance for our most trusted researchers.
By employing such a method, the ufology community can become a living institute of research, helping those premiere figures in the field.
Those interested in the truth will be open to discussing the veracity of a body of work, whereas those less aligned with truth might feel tempted to quash dissenting opinion in an effort to maintain their reputation.
In the latter case, merely by engaging in the process of verification ourselves, we begin to penetrate layers of obfuscation, and help reveal entrenched disinformation, and their agents, in the field.
Clearly if the truth is our the ultimate goal, we are all responsible to it to some degree. Let’s take the time to ensure we develop high quality, objective, and honest research and presentation skills, whether we’re academics or not, which can be applied to all fields of study, not just ufology.
Note: The resource for the preceding article is provided below in full, which originally appeared on Huffington post in 2014 (at the end of the About The Author section.)
For more about this story, see the documentary Mirage Men.
Justin Deschamps is
a truth seeker inspired by philosophy and the love of wisdom in all its
forms. He was formally trained in physics and psychology, later
discovering the spiritual basis of reality and the interconnected nature
of all things. He strives to find the path of truth while also walking
it himself, sharing what he knows with others so as to facilitate
cooperative change for a better future. He is a student of all and a
teacher to some. Follow on Twitter @sitsshow, Facebook Stillness in the Storm, and minds.com.
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by Alejandro Rojas, May 13th, 2014
I have been researching UFOs for many years, delving deep into the underbelly of UFO lore, and one name seems to frequently pop up. His name is Richard Doty, and in the 1980s he was a special agent for the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He claims that while he was there he was tasked with hoaxing documents and feeding false information to UFO researchers. The Air Force refuses to comment on whether they knew of his activities and whether his claims of partaking in this activity at the behest of his superiors is accurate.
It wouldn’t be so bad if his stories of UFO crashes and secret UFO management groups, such as the fabled MJ-12, were not the subject of a large amount of books, movies, video games, television shows, and who knows what else. He says he even acted as a consultant for The X-Files, which is one of the very few tall tales of his that might actually be true.
Doty’s story has changed over the years, and some of the details of the stories are conflicting. In frustration with this whole situation, I decided to send the Air Force Freedom of information Act (FOIA) requests to find out more. I also wanted an official response regarding whether he was ordered to create these hoaxed documents.
At first the AFOSI Public Affairs Chief was very helpful. She expedited my request, and I received some very interesting documents. I was told that when my FOIA request was fulfilled, she would help me find someone I could talk to for an official statement. However, once I got the documents, she would no longer talk to me.
What was in the documents was very interesting and corroborated some of the legend around the Doty affair. The story begins with a man named Paul Bennewitz, who owned a humidity equipment company with contracts with Kirtland AFB. His house and office were near Kirtland, and he believed he was seeing UFOs over a part of the base that housed nuclear weapons. He also believed he was receiving transmissions from the aliens that flew those UFOs. Surprisingly, the Air Force humored him. They sent out Doty and an officer to investigate, but AFOSI decided that further investigation was unwarranted.
A few days later, Bennewitz was allowed to present his evidence to some of the officers and scientists at the base. He wanted a grant to conduct more research, and one of the scientists said he would help Bennewitz fill out the paperwork for the grant.
The documents also state that two U.S. senators from New Mexico had called or shown up at Kirtland to check on AFOSI’s investigation of Bennewitz and his E.T. contacts. Apparently, Bennewitz had sought their help. Both times the senators were told there was no investigation.
Doty claims what the senators were told was not true. Doty says he was told to make Bennewitz believe there was an impending alien invasion because Bennewitz was actually observing secret Air Force projects. According to Doty, the Air Force wanted to discredit Bennewitz so no one would figure that out. However, Doty claims that in doing so, he created hoaxed documents that were given to Bennewitz and other UFO researchers, and that he broke into Bennewitz’s house and office, some if not all of which is illegal.
I have been able to confirm that Doty did give Bennewitz documents that would make him believe he was under investigation, even though Doty told both senators that this was not the case. Bennewitz eventually checked into a mental health facility due to paranoia. Doty was successful, and Bennewtiz was convinced of the immanent alien invasion. This entire affair is incredibly unscrupulous, and Doty claims he did it all under orders. Doty is now a sergeant with the New Mexico State Police in Grants.
I think the Air Force needs to respond to Doty’s claims. I have drafted a letter that I sent to the Air Force asking for a response. I have yet to receive one. I have posted this letter online along with extensive references to my sources and the FOIA documents I received. Take a look and let me know if you agree that the Air Force needs to address this situation once and for all.
To read the documents and watch a documentary with interviews with Doty, visit OpenMinds.tv.
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