UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities Hardcover – Feb 15 2011
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Once you get into it, you're going to want to read every word.... Everything in the book is essential to its investigation's being both authoritative and definitive. Nothing is ignored, nothing swept/left under the rug. (The Intelligencer, Journal of US Intelligence Studies)
Alexander succeeds in separating solid facts and credible witnesses from the myths and conspiracy theorists. (Publishers Weekly)
John Alexander is the real deal. He doesn't just talk the talk - he's walked the walk. Here's a man with a top secret security clearance who researched the UFO phenomenon and discussed it at the highest levels, in the shadowy world of military and intelligence which he's inhabited for decades. Forget everything you think you know about UFOs - this insider's account exposes the reality. And it's a reality that will come as a big surprise. Packed with top grade information, insightful analysis and fascinating anecdotes, Alexander's interesting and controversial book sets the gold standard for titles on this subject. (Nick Pope, author of Open Skies, Closed Minds)
UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities changes the playing field for both true believers and skeptics alike. Alexander notes disclosure has already happened, and what is really wanted is conformation. He strongly warns, be careful what you wish for when asking for presidential intervention. Success could set the field of ufology back decades. (George Noory, host of Coast to Coast AM)
In these pages, Dr. Alexander describes the ultimate exploration of the government's UFO secrets: that of an insider with the clearances and credentials to discover the truth. And the truth that he has discovered is deeply shocking: somebody--or something--is certainly here, but we have no ongoing response to this mysterious presence at all. Irrefutable cases confirm a UFO reality, but, at best, official response has been sketchy and no effort has been made at all to determine whether or not this reality represents a threat to the people of earth. For anybody interested in the UFO mystery, or concerned about the human future, Dr. Alexander's book is a must-read. (Whitley Strieber, author of Communion)
Dr. John B. Alexander delivers a captivating and one-of-a-kind exposé of UFO phenomena and conspiracy theories. Told from the unmatched perspective of a government insider, and combining encyclopedic-knowledge with a passion for the subject matter, Dr. Alexander takes on the long standing debate of whether or not UFOs exist while opening the door to a whole new set of mysteries. Whether you're a believer or not, this fact based analysis is a must read. (Gale Anne Hurd, owner of Valhalla Movie Productions, and producer of the movies Terminator, The Abyss, Aliens, and Armageddon)
Col. Alexander's data-rich book is a must read by anyone with even a passing curiosity about UFOs and the government's involvement and knowledge of this controversial subject. Authored by a well-connected government insider with decades of access to senior military and civilian leaders, and who convened a highly-classified, officially-sanctioned UFO study group, Col. Alexander provides a firsthand, behind-the-scenes look at the intricate government/intelligence/'military-industrial-complex' structure that emerges from his careful study. With candor and meticulous attention to detail, Col. Alexander shares his personal odyssey to determine the ground truth reality concerning the UFO enigma and the government's role in it. The verdict: On the one hand he finds that our nation's best defense assets unequivocally confirm the existence of UFOs as physical objects of extraordinary performance capability, apparently intelligently controlled; on the other hand he also deconstructs many of the field's most vaunted myths and conspiracies that have grown up around this controversial and contentious topic. Believers and skeptics alike will thus find much here to challenge a priori assumptions. (Harold E. Puthoff, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin)
Much of the extant literature pertaining to putative UFO phenomena tends to bog down in tedious reiterations of time-worn empirical evidence and speculative theoretical propositions. In refreshing contrast, John Alexander's first-person reportage of the mish-mash of government attention (and curious lack thereof) to this potentially portentous subject quickly draws the reader into personal cognizance of an unfolding saga of all-too-familiar bureaucratic federal bumbling. The physical interpretations proposed by the author on the basis of his intimate personal involvement with this polyglot technical, political, and psychological scenario, therefore merit some careful consideration. No serious scholar of the persistent paradoxes that swirl around these bizarre phenomena should neglect these perspectives. (R.G. Jahn, Professor and Dean, Emeritus, School of Engineering and Applied Science. Princeton University)
Dr. John B. Alexander has taken an unflinching, courageous look at one of the most controversial and important issues of our time. Alexander's fascinating, careful approach shifts the dialogue around UFOs to a new level. (Larry Dossey, MD, author of The Power of Premonitions)
"John's book is extremely well written and clearly lays out a compelling case that there is no central organization or committee that masterminds the "UFO Cover Up." He's the only person I know that has the qualifications, contacts and experience to write such a book. He puts it all together in a very readable fashion. Once you start, it's hard to put the book down." -Col. Charles I. Halt, ret., former Deputy Commander at Bentwaters, UK
Whether or not you are "into" UFOs, this book could rock your world! Dr. Alexander's blockbuster book is based on about 25 years of searching the top levels of government and military to find "the" group in charge of UFO information. The negative result of his search shakes the foundations of the widely held belief that there has been a government conspiracy to "cover up" important UFO information related to UFO crashes and interactions with aliens. This book could also rock your world if you are a "nonbeliever" because Dr. Alexander has cited some strong evidence that "UFOs are real." He also provides reality checks on some commonly held beliefs related to UFOs, reverse engineering of alien technology, human-alien interactions, what has been done by the governments of other countries, animal mutilations, agriglyphs ("crop circles") and military abductions. Anyone seriously interested in studying the UFO phenomenon should read this book. (Bruce Maccabee, Ph.D., U.S. Navy Physicist (Ret.))
With his unique perspective developed over decades of cutting-edge work within the scientific, military and intelligence communities, John Alexander offers a fresh perspective on UFO sightings and claims of government cover-up. A former U.S. Army colonel who has had direct involvement in many unusual projects, Alexander chips away at layers of false or misleading claims by overly-credulous "believers" and shoot-from-the hip "skeptics" as he reminds us of the importance of good sense and focuses on the evidence. He guides readers through a labyrinth of government bureaucracies and agencies as he progresses to his inescapable conclusions on the scope and depth of government cover-up and implications for society. Readers with preformed expectations may be surprised by his thesis. UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities is an intriguing, wry, and unconventional book by an unconventional author. A real page-turner, it presents ideas that will either delight or infuriate almost every reader. (Albert A. Harrison, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, UC Davis, author of Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion and Folklore.)
Dr. John B. Alexander, Ph. D., has done it again. Perhaps even more so if one considers his previous literary and scientific efforts. Dr. Alexander is widely known for his "out of the box" thinking. This effort, "UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities" tops them all. Whatever you may believe about UFOs you will be absolutely fascinated by the contents of this book. (Lieutenat General Richard G. Trefry, U.S. Army (Retired), former Military Assistant to President George HW Bush)
This is one of the most important books yet published on the many mysteries associated with UFOs. It provides the most detailed and authoritative account available of an intelligent, and balanced, perspective from within the U.S. military and intelligence community. John Alexander is a skilled investigator with a careful and discerning mind capable of distinguishing fact from fiction in this most elusive and controversial of all fields. (Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, author of The PK Man)
In his UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities, Dr. John Alexander, Ph.D. skillfully presents the UFO question in a manner that forces one to reexamine their own experiences and beliefs. The book is extremely well researched and touches every aspect of what the title suggests. I am a veteran of the pioneering days of space exploration, studying space communications before man ever entered space, operating almost every radar, telemetry, communications, and data transmission system known to man in the 1960s while in the Army, on the NASA High Range, and as cadre at Groom Lake, Nevada for both CIA and the Air Force hypersonic flight activities. My background is relevant as it exposed me to our first astronauts, flight support systems specialists, the pilots flying the U-2 and Blackbirds, space tracking systems, as well as the UFOlogists clustering around blurry lensed cameras photographing more models of supposedly extraterrestrial vehicles than Henry Ford ever envisioned for the Ford automobile. During all my years, I never met a space professional who claimed to have ever seen anything extraterrestrial, yet in one hour of one night in the desert outside Rachel, Nevada, TV talk host Larry King photographed an hour show during which time the UFOlogists claimed to have seen dozens of flying saucers flying in and out of Groom Lake. Since 1955, thousands of our nation and the worlds' best minds have worked at the Groom Lake facility, but not one has ever reported seeing what Larry King's guests saw in one hour. In his book, John nails it on the unsubstantiated UFO sightings reported with not one scintilla of real evidence, yet he left on the table unanswered some reported sightings that leaves one wondering if hidden within all the hysterical hype there might be something really out there. (Thornton D "TD" Barnes, President Roadrunners Internationale (an association of the CIA, Air Force, and Support at Groom Lake, Nevada during CIA U-2 Project Aquatone and A-12 Project Oxcart/Operation Blackshield, YF-12, SR-71 Blackbirds))
John Alexander would make a lousy politician because he has the unpleasant habit of cutting to the chase and saying what needs to be said, regardless of the consequences. His new book will almost certainly infuriate zealots on both ends of the UFO spectrum---the die-hard true believers as well as the close-minded debunkers. And parts of it will tick off everyone in between, including me, which is undoubtedly what he intended, but whether we all agree with everything in the book or not, he is saying what needs to be said. Alexander's military mind instinctively gets to the heart of UFO cases and issues, makes quick work of charlatans and fools, and will likely inspire a new round of speculation about his presumed role as an MIB-type spook who spies on the UFO community for unknown but dastardly purposes. After knowing him for many years, I can safely predict that such speculation will delight him beyond words. (George Knapp, Peabody Award-winning Chief Investigative Reporter, KLAS-TV)
Alexander provides pointed analysis on how the national government functions to address unexplained flying objects. His book is an important read on how Washington political and policy processes routinely work in examining phenomena of unknown origin. (William H. Fite. former House Foreign Affairs Committee staff member and Executive Branch appointee)
This book is a must for anyone interested in UFOs and associated phenomena. In addition to a comprehensive history, it furnishes the reader with a keen insight into the chaos that occurs when science becomes involved with politics and governmental bureaucracies. John Alexander's personal experience "outside the box" makes this a fascinating read. (Lieutenant General Gordon Sumner, U. S. Army (Retired) Former Ambassador at Large to Central and South America)
John B. Alexander's latest book, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities is a must-read! Of the more than 200 books in the UFO bibliography, tis one has to rank at the top. Finally, someone has brought this strange enigma to the front burner! (Col. William Coleman, Jr. (ret.), former Chief of Public Information for the US Air Force during Blue Book)
About the Author
Dr. John B. Alexander, a Green Beret combat veteran, was a colonel when he retired from the U.S. Army; a project manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory; a member of NATO, National Research Council, and Council on Foreign Relations, studies of non-lethal weapons; a consultant to the National Intelligence Council, CIA, US Special Operations Command, and the Army Science Board. He is widely published in several areas. Currently he is a senior fellow at a DoD university and lives with his wife, Victoria, in Las Vegas, Nevada.See all Product Description
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Given the release of UFO files by many governments in recent years, and the increasing efforts by various organizations to disclose who knew what and when, I think it has become increasingly unlikely that any government or private group knows anything more about this phenomenon than anyone else. Conspiracies may be more comforting to believe in because it means that someone is in charge. But the reality is far more unsettling: No one is in charge. That is one of the key messages of this book -- people at the highest levels of the government know nothing about this phenomenon. There have been cover-ups revealed by FOIA requests, but that information just confirms that some UFO reports are genuine mysteries. They do not suggest the existence of secret cabals that know what is going on. This can be a scary thought to contemplate if you believe that someone, somewhere, ought to be in charge.
So for me Alexander's book significantly reduces the likelihood that there are black projects in cahoots with aliens, but at the same time it significantly increases the underlying mystery. That is, UFOs are a genuine and probably an ancient mystery, and something far stranger than human conspiracies or the ET equivalent of those conspiracies may be at play here. That conclusion is at once unsettling and yet, from a perspective of our species as primates just recently down from the trees, not surprising.
I might add that I know some of the people mentioned in this book, including the author, and the story told here is completely consonant with things I've been told by them in private over the years.
But John B. Alexander is trying to hard to be an apologist for our leaders and Defense and Intelligence Departments about keeping info a secret, a bit naive on his part to claim they`re no record of ongoing investigations on the matter and that they have no more knowledge than an average Joe.
Let`s take Nuclear Physicist Stanton Friedman for example, and his "Top/Secret/Majic Eyes Only" I totally agree with the Author of this book John B. Alexander Ph.D., regarding "Majestic 12". It never made sense to me that that`s a credible source especially with Bill Moore and Jaime Shandera involvement. The memo from July 1954 from Robert Cutler to President Ike that suppose to validate them look fake, fraudulent and alter, pure disinformation, maybe an organization did exist during the cold war designed to prevent nuclear decapitation of the U.S. as the author of this book states, maybe the Government did composed a small group down the chain of Command and was efor the task of developing a plan to maintain and continue the U.S-leadership. They had the intelligence to take on such a problem and if it include UFOs is not a crazy idea, because it would exposed the U.S areal entrance spots, but it was not their whole purpose to exist. I am with John Alexander on this one.
Although Friedman research on the Roswell Crash in 1947 NM is amazing, finding Mayor Jesse Marcel in 1978 and interviewed him, talking to many witnesses its a marvelous job on Friedman part.
And then came the affirmation from the field's 509th Bomb Group, then came the denial of the Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force, Commander Roger Ramey?. Then the lies about a Weather Balloon, to changed their mind once again later to a "Project Mogul spy Balloon", that no one care to recovered according to Jim Marrs, but inexplicably the Air force did care about the Roswell one in particular. John B. Alexander Ph.D., failed to acknowledged that one.
Also after a requested of the NM Republican Representative Steven Schiff to the GAO of the official records between 1946-1949 of all "administrative and outgoing messages" in Roswell Army Air Field was found out that were all destroyed but 2(we all know them). There is no mention on Project Blue Book files about Roswell, why is that?,the fact that but omission of the Roswell incident in such project, it gives prominence and validation to Roswell. Not to mention why The Air force failed to start an investigation about UFOs with the mother of all UFO incidents "Roswell" in 1947 and instead beginning it in 1952?.
Also more important than anything is the Friedman request under FOIA to the NSA through a Federal Judge GErghard GEssell on files about UFOs(about 160), after CIA suggested the other agencies have them as well. Which BTW was turn down producing an Affidavit that even the Judge needed to get a higher Security clearance to read after which agree with the NSA to no let anyone access to NSA files regarding UFOs because it could compromise national security. After a FOIA request to get that affidavit by Stanton Friedman, unreadable blackout pages were released due to again, national security.
And the Author of this book John B. Alexander Ph.D. naively wants us to believe that they are no secret projects about UFO on hands of our intelligence community, no juice records, specially those about the sightings over our Nuclear military installations that goes directly to "NORAD" such as one in march 5, 1967 over ND and tracked on NORAD radars, where a metallic object/Disc-shape/UFO with bright flashing lights moving above at the Minot AFB in N Dakota was immediately detected, this UFO stopped abruptly and hovered at 500 ft, circled the Minuteman missile site, then ascended vertically and disappeared at tremendous speed, just when NORAD sent F-106s to intercept it, John B. Alexander Ph.D. Nice try!...But in Dr Alexander defense he at-least acknowledged the event that follow 11 days later in a near by state of MT, where First Lieutenant "Robert Salas" of "Oscar Flight Launch Control Center" at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, in 1967, where 10 Nuclear missiles were disable by a Hovering UFO, during the heat of the Cold War, and was ONLY release under a FOIA direct request that confirms it.
And the list goes on and on as the memo of the UK regarding US and Russian agencies currently involvement officially in UFOs investigation title; "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenal Study" discovered by "Nick Pope"while working on the Ministry of Defence`s in 1993.Also many MoD UFO files has been releases(The memo of Colonel C. Halt/RAF Bentwaters-Rendlesham incident in 1982 for example)and among Americans the list of official documents, Yes goes on and on; The 1947 Twining memo; The 1949 FBI memo-UFOs Top Secret; The 1950 Hanford AEC document; The 1952 CIA-Chadwell memo-; The 1953 Oak ridge memo; The 1954 Maxwell AFB emergency memo; The Pepperell AFB radar visual UFO tracking in 1955; The 1956 Minot AFB UFO landing memo; The 1966 Bollender memo; The 1967 Malmstrom AFB memo; The 1975 NORAD and USAF UFO documents; The 1976 DIA(General Parviz Jafari Iranian/Tehran Jet fighter incident) memo; The state department memo on the 1978 bolivian ufo crash incident; The Halt memo 1981; The 1990 DIA documents on the Belgium UFO wave, etc.
I give 5 stars to this book by Dr John Alexander for his courage to come out from the inside of the USA intelligentsia and write a book about the taboo UFO subject. Also a consider Dr Alexander to be a true American hero, for his work in NON-LETHAL WEAPONS which provides the means to subdue foes by controlling riots, prisoner control, crowds control and even enemy troops as in making them surrendered(as in Iraq) with compliance or pain inducing weapons such as Direct Energy Weapons, Electromagnetic Weapons, sonic, laser or particle weapons, or Microwave auditory effects-as in hearing voices inside one's head- declassified in 2006 in respond to a FOIA request.
Many ufologist talk the talk deliriously with conspiracy, you won't find that here and Dr Alexander goes as far as being part of BAASS(own by billionaire Robert Bigelow who owns the only private space station in the world name Genesis under Bigelow aerospace) a private organization charge with the continuing of the space station after congress cancelled the ISS from NASA...wow, not only that but Dr Alexander mediated so the USA government authorizes the FAA to redirect all UFOs reports to Bigelows FAASS-Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies- all this in the FAA official press release, ...wow...Great job Dr Alexander. But I must admit I find myself distrustful of a private institution not accountable to the taxpayers handling UFO reports, because at least under direct USA control under FOIA or declassification we could have limited access to the info...but under the privately own BAASS there's no way to ever find out...specially if guy behind it(Bigelow)happens to own the SPOOKY UFO infested Skinwalker ranch/Sherman ranch in Utah plus the planets only privately own space station!!!....
I hope Dr Alexander one day would write another book telling us what BAASS is up to, and what info are they guarding so secretive.
And I recommend the following books;
-UFOs; General, Pilots, and Goverment officials Go on the Record
by Leslie Kean
-Flying Saucers and Science: A Scientist Investigates the Mysteries of UFOs: Interstellar Travel, Crashes, and Government Cover-Ups.
Ufos and Nukes
By Robert Hasting
-UFOs and the National Security State Volume One, 1941-1973
-The Cover-Up Exposed, 1973-1991 (UFOs and the National Security State, Vol. 2)
By Richard Dolan
-by William lyne
By Jim Marrs
I read this book in what I hoped was a calm, open-minded manner and enjoyed particularly the detailed descriptions of how bureaucracies function (or don't function). Mr Alexander certainly had access over time to an amazing array of top people right through the U.S. Government and he was certainly passionate about uncovering whether any of these people had secret knowledge of black projects. It's fair enough for him to say that in all his travels and with all the people he met and talked with, he became convinced no-one appeared to be covering up any great secret(s). That's fair, and that's worth hearing.
The book can be a little pedantic in parts, but that may be Mr Alexander's personality, for instance including a very long letter from the past to the now deceased Mr Corso in the Appendix seems unnecessary (endless nit-picking about Mr Corso's Roswell story), in fact the Appendix itself seemed to be on the whole self-indulgent for no real apparent reason.
Other than that there was a strange amount of grammatical typos in the book, perhaps 10 or so, (which makes me wonder about the stringency of the editing) which I though unusual. A book should have no typos. There are also some contradictions to Mr Alexander's arguments that he presents. For instance when his thoughts line up with someone else's he is at pains to point out the other person's professional credentials and thus alleged credibility, yet others with very impressive credentials as well, but opposing viewpoints, such as the Canadian ex Minister of Defence, he belittles as ridiculous and his credentials aren't factored. Credentials either stand for something or they don't I would think. He also comes to the conclusion that no-one was covering up any secrets whilst later explaining that the military slaps top secret classifications on everything they don't know how to deal with, that there's an avalanche of top secrecy. On a slightly oblique note, he chastises people several times for referring to the Stealth craft as a fighter, when it always was a bomber, yet refers to it as a Stealth fighter himself once.
Mr Alexander doesn't give much time to the concept that he may have been easily lied to or deceived. People lie all the time yet he seems to truly believe and rely on facts like people in the armed forces take an oath so surely they would never deceive or lie because of this oath, which seems an incredibly naive belief. Either that or he idolises people with higher rankings. As someone on a witness stand once said, "Gee I'd hate to be the first person to lie under oath..."
But overall, other than a slightly anal, obsessive-compulsive way of presenting details, (straight-laced military style perhaps), which includes a veritable bombardment of acronyms; some typos and some contradictions, I enjoyed hearing what he had to say and in many respects he paints a very believable version of events. The huge PLUS for this author is the incredible access he has had to so many important people in very high ranking positions, and also Mr Alexander does not come across as a ranting, lying, emotional, lunatic (like so many others), he seems very sane, very rational, presents as scrupulously fair (although debatable in parts when his personnel beliefs are pushed) and very believable. (The straight-laced military style at least adds to the credibility that he is dedicated to telling the truth as he experienced it.)
This is definitely a must read, I would opinion, for those open-minded and interested about UFOs and the U.S. Government. I should have saved all that bombast I wrote in-between and just written that one line!
From this point on one needs to be able to sort fact from opinion. This book has plenty of the later. And this process is made all the more difficult by a lack of proper references. The main point being that after asking a number of high level military people, even giving some non-official UFO briefings, not one confirmed a classified Project or acted evasive about the subject. With that said the author goes to great lengths to promote UFOs as serious, but also is rather strained in trying to absolve the government in all cases. They are not hiding much of anything, nor are they capable of doing so.
The Condon Chapter supports the idea that the Air Force wanted to get out of the UFO Business. However, the real problem was the "Public" UFO Business. Same problem with trying to dump the matter on NASA which he documents. Insert the word "public" and it changes the perspective. It is very difficult to suggest that some portion of the military and intelligence community could not keep a subject secret when there is such well documented aversion to it. One of many contradictions.
Alexander is also on target about the nature of Bureaucracy, but makes a very poor assumption that everyone works this way. While the authors personal experience is very important, it is also quite limited. Simply making contact with people is not enough when professionals know how to protect the classified work they do. Is he unaware of broader intelligence community history and their relationship with the Office of the President? Of all important "Plausible Deniability?
As an example of the prevailing attitude, he uses his well connected friend and author Tom Clancy to support the argument. Mr. Clancy says we don't have any craft "because somebody would have told me." That is a central theme in the book. He quotes Ben Rich, but leaves out a significant part of the quote, and then interprets what is quoted to support his opinion. How many times does this happen in cases where the reader is unaware of the facts?
And while his critique of some of the wilder notions in the UFO field and the persons who spread them is warranted, he tends to lump just about everybody into a general category of "Conspiracy Theorists." Maybe the author is not the new Phillip Klass, but he has picked up a few pointers along the way. Some of his speculations and arguments are more than debatable, and are presented as if fact in Chapter Summaries.
There are a number of UFO cases that are properly treated in the book. The author is personally familiar with some of them and the people involved. Certain subjects like ARV are reviewed with a proper dose of skepticism, as well as some of the players in the so-called Disclosure movement. Many of these people have front loaded the UFO subject with their personal conspiracy politics that go far beyond the UFO subject. He also gives the Debunkers a run for their money. And his thoughts on the Disclosure issue in general are constructive. That is a subject with no absolute answers until it happens, so opinions are welcome. And to be fair he provides an honest summary of the views held by some of his well connected friends that contradict his own. I am familiar with some of the same people. But he does not argue for their interpretation.
The brief material on MJ-12 and Roswell was the biggest disappointment. I am not sure why he bothered? Once again the "lack of proper references" problem other that those persons or books that he does mention in the actual text. In both cases there is serious misrepresentations. The issues are more complex than I can cover in a review. I suggest the reader seek larger more comprehensive works on these subjects. That includes the more skeptical presentations. But you must examine both sides and in greater detail.
As with other books on the subject, you can indeed learn something even if you don't blindly follow the point the author is trying to drive home. Take note of the contradictions. In my opinion, if you read this book carefully you can understand how such monumental secrets could in fact be kept!
I have met John face-to-face a few times. I like him personally and find him charming, good-humoured, highly intelligent and excellent company. Due to his military intelligence background, any book on the subject of UFOs written by him was bound to generate controversy and the polarised reactions to `UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities' are no surprise.
So, to the book and its thesis.
Following a foreword by his friend Jacques Vallee (predictable, as the ideas of Vallee and Alexander on the UFO issue are almost in lock-step), a `commentary' by Tom Clancy (less predictable) and an `introduction' by Burt Rutan, John launches into the main thesis of his book which can be summarised as follows: there exists plentiful and compelling evidence that UFOs are real anomalous phenomena, not man-made and possibly extraterrestrial in origin, though the phenomena are complex and one single explanation may never accommodate all the data. The quantity and quality of data is so unassailable that everyone `in the know' acknowledges the phenomena to be real. However, in 50 years of involvement with military intelligence and hi-tech R&D projects, dealing closely with the Air Force, the DIA, the CIA and with contractors developing leading-edge technology for military applications I found no evidence of any governmental or quasi-governmental organization which is `in charge' of collecting data. Everyone believes someone else has responsibility for managing the issue, when the truth is that no-one is, and the government knows no more than you do. In a nutshell there are no `crash retrievals' and no autopsied/frozen aliens; Roswell was a mogul balloon, there is no `secret cabal' running things, and no `cover-up.'
The author lays out three essential requirements if you're going to seriously research UFOs:
1. A sense of humour, as you are going to be attacked sooner or later
2. An understanding of conspiracy theory, as you are now part of the `plot'
3. A day job, or be independently wealthy, as no-one makes money from this topic
Dr. Alexander views conspiracy theorists of all hues with particular derision:
"There are those in the conspiracy theory crowd that believe that I'm part of MJ-12, or some other mystical group that is part of a sophisticated cover-up...depending on which conspiracy one believes in, this `cover-up' is run by the US Government...some rogue element of a black organization...or international cabal controlled by the Bilderburgers, Trilateralists, or the Council of Foreign Relations. Many CT-ers just seem to believe there exists some great unidentified `THEY'. This is not true. I am not part of any covert group...but in the convoluted logic of the CT crowd, just denying association is proof `THEY' exist "(p4).
Dr. Alexander then takes us through his involvement with the `Advanced Theoretical Physics Project', official investigation of psychic phenomena and his knowledge of the Lockheed Skunk Works and Area 51 and what NORAD, the CIA, the DIA, the NSA and senior military really know about the UFO issue: not much, reportedly, except that everyone knows they're real, they're not made by us, they intrude into our airspace at will, they do whatever they want and we're unable to stop them.
The author spends a chapter deconstructing the blatant fabrications of Philip Corso (an easy task, you might think) whom he knew well personally and with whom he spent face-to-face time. He gives insight into the way bureaucracies work and the governing psychologies which drive governmental institutions - right on the money, IMO. He summarises the attitudes of POTUS since Truman to the UFO issue, and includes acknowledged sightings by Presidents Carter and Reagan and their various public pronouncements on the subject. He effectively deconstructs the MJ-12 hoax in great detail, and examines the Apollo program and rumours of astronaut-UFO contacts. He spends a long chapter examining real, hard cases (Cash-Landrum, Rendlesham, the Belgian `triangle' wave) where he demonstrates to the skeptical reader that there is a real anomalous phenomenon here and we don't understand what it is.
Dr. Alexander claims to have particular respect for the work of Robert Hastings, who has researched the repeatedly demonstrated interest in nuclear weapons sites from UFOs and their habit of deliberately shutting down ICBMs, and acknowledges his work in publicising the issue to be of exceptional importance. However, here we have a problem: he blatantly misrepresents Hastings' views by claiming he (Hastings) considers the CIA to have no interest in these phenomena, when in his book `UFOs and Nukes' Hastings spends an entire chapter (chapter 26) demonstrating the precise opposite, that the CIA has always had a deep interest in the phenomena, and has engaged in an active cover-up and campaign of debunking and ridicule in order to delude the public at large that there is `nothing to see here.' Robert may have something to say about John's misrepresentation of his views in due course. This is one of many instances where the careful and knowledgeable reader will see Alexander's employment of such tactics: he relies on the reader being unfamiliar with specific data and the real views of researchers and insiders such as Admiral Hillenkoetter, Victor Marchetti and Barry Greenwood, to name but three. His criticisms of the mind-set of conspiracy theorists, however, are right on target: basically the `disclosure' crowd do far more harm than good in marginalising the topic and preventing scientific enquiry by associating it with the lunatic fringe. The subject becomes a `tar baby', Alexander (correctly) points out: once you're contaminated by touching it, it sticks and will never let go of you, and your reputation can be destroyed by association with it (look how the mainstream media tore into Dennis Kucinich in 2008, when all he did was be honest about a multiply-witnessed sighting).
The book has in total around 10 obvious typos in 273 pages of text, excluding the appendices. Whilst this is a small total, it still betrays poor proofreading: they shouldn't be there, and will hopefully be corrected in a second edition. Alexander however is an excellent writer and the book is informative, engaging, lively and never dull. Each chapter concludes with a useful half-page summary which draws the ideas together.
So, is it worth reading? Definitely, in the same way that Jacques Vallee's work on the subject is worth reading: it might ultimately not be very helpful in explaining any of this stuff but it's different to the mainstream, contains some nuggets of interest and might make you think. However, those convinced John Alexander is a `spook' disseminating clever disinformation are unlikely to be swayed by the author's reasoned, thorough and good-humoured arguments. He avoids plenty of compelling evidence which might weaken his `no-one officially cares about this and there is no cover-up' thesis - the hundreds of credible witnesses to Roswell, Kecksburg, Aztec and other incidents; the testimonies of Gordon Cooper, Ed Mitchell etc. - and chooses to include only that which can be made to support his line. Could he have been persistently lied to about `no-one is in charge'? He says possibly, but unlikely. Could he be engaged in a disinfo campaign? Sure he could: read his bio, closely examine the detail of his claims in the book and consider what he leaves out.
Please read the book, with an open mind. The revelations about how government bureaucracies actually work in the real world are so enlightening and detailed they are alone worth the price of the book, and the author's description of the negative effect which CTs have on public perceptions of the UFO subject are priceless. Whether you end up believing the author is `on the level' or remain convinced he is some kind of clever disinformant, reading the book is still time well spent.
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