July 31, 2011

Case Closed? A Re-Evaluation of the Echo Flight Incident

RU member and former SAC Missile Crew Commander Tim Hebert has now posted an intriguing summary of his findings and conclusions on his blog Did It Really Happen? regarding his lengthy investigation into the now famous March 1967 Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident.

As followers of this blog know, the heated debate in this case between Robert Hastings and James Carlson, son of Eric Carlson, one of the two launch officers present at Echo Flight, reached a fever pitch last year running up to Hastings’ scheduled press conference at the NPC in Washington, DC in March of 2010 with Robert Salas and a number of other alleged “witnesses”.  Salas claims another missile shutdown occurred a week later at Oscar Flight and it was caused by UFOs, however, unlike the Echo Flight incident on March 16th, no documentation or witnesses exist to support a shutdown occurred on March 24th, let alone that UFOs were involved in either case.

In an effort to get to the bottom of all this and make sure everybody had all sides of the story, RU’s Ryan Dube took it upon himself to dig through all of the claims and counter claims and this resulted in a number of articles published right here at Reality Uncovered (shown below).

He interviewed, – for the first time anywhere – one of the two key “witnesses” in this case, James’ father Eric Carlson and also helped to facilitate the dissemination of James’ correspondence with the other key witness, Walter Figel.

With all of this information to hand, it was now much easier for everyone to make their own minds up about the case and not have to rely on dubious sources or rumour:

(in reverse chronological order)

The James Carlson Malmstrom Problem

The Echo Flight UFO Debate Continues

An Interview With Malmstrom AFB Witness Eric Carlson

Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident – Part III

The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident – Part II

The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident, March 1967

Tim’s previous articles posted at his blog have also been discussed here:

Did UFOs Disable Minuteman Missiles at Malmstrom AFB in 1967?

The Makings of a UFO Myth

Tim begins his summary with the following introduction:

First, let me start off by saying that the Malmstrom AFB Echo Flight case is a great UFO story.  It’s the perfect storm for UFO buffs in that there are reports, documents, and “witnesses.”  Its listed in the top ten of UFO cases. People have been interviewed to the extent that every surviving individuals cerebral memory capacity has been extracted, evaluated, discarded and re-extracted for what ever purpose in the attempt to prove or disprove individual pet theories. In short, it’s a ufologists dream come true…or is it.

He then goes on to explain why he feels this case is nothing more than an “illusion” and what factors he used to base his “case closed” conclusion on.

Walter Figel’s Story

Tim notes the following regarding Hastings’ latest “witness” that has become the focus of much debate and a source of a great confusion for many of us trying to get to the bottom of all this:

Walter Figel’s accounting of events on 16 March 1967 remain the only seemingly solid foundation for the UFO story and has remained so up to this current time.  But, is it a consistent story?  Based on the two interviews, one given to Robert Salas in 1996 and the second given to Robert Hastings in 2008, there are numerous inconsistencies when the two interviews are compared for content.

Go to Tim’s blog to read his very comprehensive analysis of these interviews and a number of other factors.

Hebert’s Email to Walter Figel

The above discussion cumulates with the following email sent to Walt Figel requesting clarification…

Col. Figel, my name is Tim Hebert.  I, like you, am a former Minuteman crew member.  I was assigned to Malmstrom AFB, 490th SMS, from 1981-1985, with a follow-on assignment to Grand Forks AFB, Wing Codes Division, from 1985 to 1988.  I’m writing you in regards to the Echo Flight case which occurred back in 1967, as I have been following the history of the case and on-going points of contention between Robert Hastings and James Carlson.  I was wondering if you would indulge a fellow Minuteman crew dog by my asking your opinion of the case.  I am aware that the Echo Flight incident occurred some 40 years ago and that you have been asked numerous times for your recollections of that event, yet will spare me some of your time.

I have read extensively both of your interviews given to Robert Salas in 1996 and Robert Hastings in 2008.  In both of the interviews you mention the actions of maintenance and security teams in the Echo flight area on 16 March 1967.  Both interviews are somewhat remarkably different as to who initially reported to you the sighting of the UFO over one of Echo’s LFs.  After reviewing the contents of the declassified 341st SMW Unit History, I was struck by the total lack of any mentioning of any wing agency debriefing either a maintenance team or security response team.  Yet, the Unit History goes into detail mentioning you and Eric Carlson as being debriefed by a wing maintenance evaluation team, OOMA, and Boeing.  This would lead me to conclude that there is a high probability that no maintenance teams were located on any of Echo’s LFs on 16 Mar 1967.  This would also explain why no names have ever surfaced as eye witnesses to any actual UFO sighting.  Knowing that this incident occurred some 40 years ago, is it possible that there were no maintenance activity on any of your LFs?

When Hastings and Salas gave their press conference in Washington D.C. back on 27 Sept. 2010, I noticed that you were not in attendance.  This struck me as odd as for the past few years Mr. Hastings has used your interviews as the foundation to proffer his UFO theory.  Did Mr. Hastings ever ask you to sign an affidavit similar to the other participants of that conference?  If Hastings did ask and you declined, why so?

And lastly, did Mr. Hastings offer to pay you for your interview?  Please forgive my directness, but if this was so, then this would explain Mr. Hastings on and off attitude towards you as he has recently stated in numerous articles that you were “timid” and “waffling” as far as his (Hastings) perceived weakening support for his UFO theory.

Your thoughts in these matters would be greatly appreciated.  Quite honestly this would go along way towards the clearing up of a lot of confusion concerning this case.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of Robert Hastings (he is not a fan of mine) as he tends to paint those of us that served honorably in SAC and on the crew force as pawns or dupes of the government.  It appears that he may attempt to do the same regarding the recent events at FE Warren.  Our command and government were not perfect by any means, but we all, including our leadership, attempted to do the best that was possible in the defense of the country.


Tim Hebert

As of this writing, Walter Figel has not responded.


Tim begins the conclusion section of his article with these important points:

I believe that I have shown that there is now enough evidence to strongly support that UFO/s could not have caused Echo’s ICBMs to shut down.  The following strongly supports my conclusion:

1.  High probability that no maintenance teams were out on any of Echo’s sites during shutdowns.
2.  No maintenance or security teams mentioned in the Unit History.
3.  After 44 years, none of the supposed eye witnesses have ever been identified, nor have these people ever came forward, concluding that they may never have existed in the first place.
4.  Walter Figel’s inconsistency from both Hastings and Salas’ interviews.
5.  Walter Figel’s perceived reluctance to publicly support Hastings’ UFO theory, as evidence by, his absence from the D.C press conference, lack of an affidavit affirming his statements.
6.  Eric Carlson’s strong denial of receiving any UFO reports from security personnel.
7.  No intercept missions flown by the Montana National Guard against any unknown radar contacts.
8.  Minuteman LF design of connectivity isolation precludes any one event (UFO included) from affecting the remaining ICBMs in a given flight.
9.  Echo was a flight specific event with no other adjoining flight effected
10.  The only plausible UFO scenario would have been a UFO over/near Echo’s LCF/LCC.  This never occurred and no reports or rumors ever comes close to supporting this scenario.
11.  The Boeing ECP and final installation of EMP suppression fixes resulting in no Echo-like situation from ever happening again for all SAC missile wings (Minuteman and Titan).

Case Closed?

At this point I think the ball is now firmly placed in Figel’s court to come forward and respond to these questions in public as he sees fit… or not.

Please go to Tim’s blog to read his entire article and let him know what you think…


Also, feel free to discuss this in our ongoing thread (link is to a recent relevant post of mine) in the Reality Uncovered Forums or leave a comment below.

Filed under: UFOlogy,Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , , — Access Denied @ 5:51 pm

July 27, 2011

Famous Black Triangle UFO A Fake

The mystery of the iconic Petit-Rechain black triangle UFO photo has finally been solved. The photographer, a man named only as Patrick, has admitted making the UFO out of polystyrene in an interview with mainstream Belgian TV channel RTL-TVI.

The photograph was taken 21 years ago in 1990 at the height of the Belgian UFO flap and was an instant hit around the world, with many publications using the photo as a kind of banner for the UFO phenomenon.

It was known as the Petit-Rechain photo after the Belgian town where it was photographed, but Patrick revealed he and some friends made the model in a short space of time before photographing it some hours later that evening.

Patrick said “You can do a lot with a little, we managed to trick everyone with a piece of polystyrene” and he is right. The photograph has kept “experts” busy for years, with many of a ufological persuasion using this as proof of alien visitation.

“We made the model with polystyrene, we painted it and then we started sticking things to it, then we suspended it in the air … then we took the photo,”

The prank was originally meant to fool some work colleagues at the small business where Patrick worked as a fitter, but quickly went global soon after leaving the walls of the factory.

Patrick assumed their deception would be discovered, and takes pride in the fact that it never was.  He apologised for fooling so many believers, but clearly got a lot of laughs out of the whole thing after admitting he wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

In actual fact, Patrick is incorrect when he thinks the deception was never discovered, because the exact method of how he did it was revealed as recently as March of this year in Tim Printy’s (excellent) SUNlite magazine, Volume 3 Number 2.

On pages 19-22 there is an in-depth analysis by Roger Paquay which deconstructs various arguments presented by experts on the believer side of the fence, while presenting readers with the most likely explanation of what the image actually is.

“The various analyses cannot exclude effects based on a cardboard triangle suspended by a thin thread, giving the rotation effect seen on the picture.”

“This behavior doesn’t agree with an observation of an exotic object. The more likely conclusion is in favor of a fake made to illustrate the observation of a plane or to match with the description of the “Triangular UFO” found in the media for the previous four months.”

“It is very curious that, in a such a highly populated area, with people looking for UFOs, nobody else reported seeing this large object at low altitude. Only the photographer could explain what is really on his picture but his desire to remain anonymous will prevent any further resolution on the issue.”

Substitute cardboard for polystyrene and I would say he got it spot on!

Filed under: Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 11:11 pm

Big Brother IS watching you

Big Brother is watching youWith the on-going phone hacking scandal continuing to dominate headlines both in the United Kingdom and United States, personal privacy and how to protect it is an issue once again in the minds of many people.

Online privacy has always been something of an issue, with computer malware and trojans a constant threat to the safety of our passwords, bank details and everything else we need to keep secret while browsing the internet.

Discussion forums, like ours here at Reality Uncovered, are a meeting place for like-minded people to discuss and dissect a wide range of stories and information relating to a particular subject – in our case more often than not in the fields of Ufology, Reality and the Paranormal.

We take the online privacy of our members very seriously, as does no doubt many of the other thousands of discussion forums on the internet. Most forums have a private messaging feature which enables members to talk to each other in complete privacy, away from any staff members and out of the public eye.  As an example, two people could meet in a public discussion forum posting back and forth on a public board viewable by whoever views the site. But if they want to exchange phone numbers or emails, they would use the private message function. This is normally very secure as not even the owner of the forum can view these messages. They are indeed private…..or so they should be!

MouseTrace: Dream or Nightmare?

Enter “MouseTrace”, a unique solution to help website owners, designers and Internet marketing professionals better understand how visitors are using their websites.

According to their website:

A single line of HTML code is all that is need to enable the website owner/designer to watch exactly what the visitors are doing on their website – see whether they are viewing the full page content, where they are clicking and how they are navigating through the website. This powerful information enables the website owner or designer to efficiently optimise the site which leads to increased sales and/or better viewer participation and response.

Elsewhere on the MouseTrace website we are told:

Within a couple of minutes you will be watching real-time replays of how your visitors are using your blog, watching every mouse movement, click and scroll – just like sitting next to your visitors watching their screen!

Not exactly the kind of software you would expect to see running on online discussion forum, after all, what would be the point?

The Open Minds Forum and MouseTrace

Enter The Open Minds Forum, Big Brother is watching you!

Most people who follow Reality Uncovered know we don’t have much time for the Open Minds forum. Ever since it opened, Open Minds has been a safe haven for hoaxers, scammers, conmen and liars. Enough evidence exists that shows how the owners and some staff of the forum have actively encouraged –and continue to do so – known hoaxes and outrageous claims. It is not a coincidence that many of these stories find their way to OM, it is by design. So no, it’s not the members we have a problem with, it never has been. It is the willingness to propagate myth and lies as fact and the jack-booted way they handle those who question them that we have always had a problem with.

The following account, then, should really come as no surprise for regular visitors to this site.

The MouseTrace software was discovered by an Open Minds member to be running on their forum. Naturally they were concerned about it so opened a thread on the subject, highlighting the sinister Watch replays showing exactly what your website visitors are doing and asking if the OM staff also used key loggers and snooped on private messages.

Other members also became concerned and asked questions, but a staff response was slow in coming. Five days slow to be exact.  One member even asked Patrick Clinger, owner of the ProBoards software if this was something ProBoards had done, but he confirmed MouseTrace wasn’t used on any of their sites. Incidentally, the member who questioned Mr Clinger has now been banned from the OM forum.

In the meantime and before a staff response was forthcoming, John Hicks (JeddyHi), posted about this issue in the OM thread here at RU. John has plenty of first-hand experience of Open Minds, being a former administrator of the site. He was also one of the principal investigators into the Source A scam hosted at OM, so John knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to OM.

Only after John had posted here, with serious concerns being raised by RU and OM members alike about the possible ability of the MouseTrace software being able to “view” members private messages, was a response from the owner of Open Minds, Brendan Burton, forthcoming.

Posting under the user account ‘Admin’, Mr Burton wrote:

Mousetrace is/was a promo plugin trial from Google as part of our Google Analytics package. From what it said in the promo it would be easier to access Google Analytics, and help make the site structure more accessible to users by providing a service ” to rapidly find faults and identify where improvements can be made.” But, as far i know it’s not possible to see any ‘private’ data like PM’s or even typed words, just navigation of visitors to the site, what boards they go to. And i’ve checked since this came to be a concern, and i can’t find any mention of it ever being able to see anything like passwords or the private pages of members actually logged into a site.

There would be no intention to, even if it was possible

It was only ever active for just over a day. In fact i deactivated it when it came to my attention that it was causing unnecessary alarm.

There is absolutely no intention, desire or need to look at anyone’s private PM’s or anything like that. And there’s no ability to do so.

Let’s take a look at this reply in more detail, starting with the very first line:
Mousetrace is/was a promo plugin trial from Google as part of our Google Analytics package.

This sentence is wrong in every single way. Mouse Trace is not a plugin, it has absolutely nothing to do with Google and it is not part of the Google Analytics package.

From the company website ‘About’ section, we can see that MouseTrace is a privately held company, founded in the United Kingdom by Dan Field in 2010. The company has no affiliation with Google and the Google Analytics software doesn’t include anything like the MouseTrace software.

From what it said in the promo it would be easier to access Google Analytics, and help make the site structure more accessible to users by providing a service ” to rapidly find faults and identify where improvements can be made.”

Google Analytics is accessible by going to http://www.google.com/analytics and entering your user details. Is that not easy enough!? As we have already seen, the MouseTrace software is (allegedly!) a tool to enable website owners better understand how visitors are using their websites – it has absolutely nothing to do with finding faults and identifying where improvements can be made.

But, as far i know it’s not possible to see any ‘private’ data like PM’s or even typed words, just navigation of visitors to the site, what boards they go to

As we will see further below, that is simply not true.

It was only ever active for just over a day. In fact i deactivated it when it came to my attention that it was causing unnecessary alarm.

As one can see from the posts in the OM thread, it was active for at least four days and why deactivate it in the first place if they’re only using it “to find faults”?

On July 26th, OM Moderator “Fore” posted the following in an attempt to further bolster the explanation offered by Bren:

The day after mouse trace was used, I brought it up in our mods board. I was told it was a plugin to “Google Analytics” and after I investigated personally, it seems it doesn’t have the features I feared it might have.

(Like a Keylogger or screen captures of text, stuff that was a real concern.)

One wonders how extensive this “investigation” was, bearing in mind it didn’t take us very long to discover that “screen captures of text” is exactly what it does! Fore’s very lengthy post then went on to explain what MouseTrace does and doesn’t do, and why our conclusions were wrong and couldn’t be trusted. Needless to say, almost every aspect of the post was full of inaccuracies and only served to confuse their, by this time, bewildered membership.

Finding the Truth

These denials and obvious misdirection attempts were beginning to look very suspicious indeed.

John Hicks (JeddyHi) decided to investigate this issue for himself in a way he knows best; thoroughly!

Wondering if Open Minds staff could actually be snooping on its members, he decided to do some testing of his own. John created a discussion forum at the ProBoards website – the same site used by OM – and as soon as it was completed he installed a free version of the MouseTrace software. The installation was pretty easy and straight forward; it only involved entering two to four lines of HTML code into the global header and footer files.

Once everything was up and running, RU member ‘Philliman’ and I both registered an account at John’s test site. Once activated, we sent PMs to one another with each of us receiving or sending a PM to the other. Meanwhile, MouseTrace is quietly running in the background and lo and behold….it recorded our activity perfectly. The traces John viewed allowed him to read the messages between the two of us. The ‘private’ in Private Messages was now a useless word.

The Proof

We were actually astonished at the fact that a discussion forum’s private messaging system had been fully compromised. More astonishing though, was the question of just why the owners of a discussion forum would install this program in the first place. Snooping on members, reading the occasional private message, and more or less just violating every member’s privacy?

The Open Minds forum still denies any wrong doing and continues to claim that MouseTrace does not have the capabilities to violate PM privacy.

We now know the truth.

Beware of Mouse Trace and especially beware of any discussion forum that installs it.

Stephen Broadbent and John Hicks (JeddyHi)

Discuss this and more in the Reality Uncovered Forums or leave a comment below.

Filed under: Disinfo,Weird — Tags: , — Stephen Broadbent @ 2:13 am

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