April 4, 2009

UFOlogy Uncovered: Handicapping the “Other Side”


UFOlogy is frequently criticized for not making new information or analysis that may cast an “unfavorable light” on a given case or cases readily available to others. In some cases it would appear opposing points of views are actively being suppressed by handicapping the “other side” in various, sometimes subtle, ways.  The following may be one example of how this is being accomplished.

On April 1st, RU received the following email from Robert Hastings…

This will be posted on UFO Chronicles on April 2nd.

RU’s contributions to the exposing of Doty and Collins are appropriately noted, as is my justifiable criticism of your group’s collective shortsightedness regarding the core UFO phenomenon.

 
Attached to this email was a copy of Robert’s new article entitled “The MJ-12 Saga Continues: Operation Bird Droppings” in Microsoft Word format.  Considering Robert had previously requested our permission to use the material and finding RU’s contributions were indeed properly cited in the form of numerous URLs linking back to the relevant content on our site, we were looking forward to commenting on it after it was published.

On April 2nd, Frank Warren published the article on his web site UFO Chronicles and we immediately noticed that all the URLs linking to RU had been replaced with indirect links going through the third-party TinyURL service.  We found this problematic for a number of reasons, some of which were expressed in this email Steve sent to Robert Hastings that same day…

Thanks for sending the draft, it makes interesting reading.

However, the links have been changed to tinyurl’s from the original full links in the draft. There is no justifiable reason for this as the urls aren’t long.  Clearly this is an attempt to use our research to further an agenda but not allow us to benefit from the cross linking. Not only is this highly unprofessional, it exposes a bias in favour of only presenting one side of the story.

I would appreciate this being changed back to how it was in the draft within the next 24 hours. In return, we will provide links back to the original article. In the interests of transparency and fairness, I expect this is not asking too much.

 
And Robert responded with this…

“Clearly” ? Not so. I am a cyber-dinosaur and rely on others, including Frank Warren at UFO Chronicles, to post my articles. If you write to him, I suspect he would comply with your request. But I can not speak for him. I have copied him on this message.

BTW, if you guys investigated some of my own research, you would be a lot closer to uncovering reality.

 
To which Steve replied…

Thanks for the copy to Frank.

Frank, I would appreciate the URL’s changing back from the tinyurl’s to the original, thank you.

As for uncovering reality… one step at a time, one step at a time :)
 

 
To which Frank Warren replied…

Gentlemen,

The links were shortened “for no other reason” then to accommodate the rather slim” main column; however, they were meant to be “full functioning” links, as presented by the author, Robert Hastings.

Quite frankly I didn’t understand the problem until rechecking the piece and seeing that they are in fact “non-functional links.” We at UFO Chronicles (unless a prearrangement has been made for editing) strive to publish articles from our contributors exactly as they were presented, or as close as possible within the constraints of the template of our site.

In any event, the issue will be remedied in short order.

 
Let’s examine this response for intellectual honesty.  After all, it’s entirely possible we were too quick to judge Frank’s intent as Robert indicated in his response…

Thanks, Frank. I knew that you would respond appropriately. Perhaps after dealing with Doty and Collins, the guys at RU aren’t used to straight-shooters and just automatically assume the worst.

 
Frank first claims the only reason the links were shortened was because they were too long but is this true?  Here an excerpt from Roberts’s original draft…

So, Mr. Doty and Mr. Collins, what kind of excrement will you two birds drop to rebut this illuminating cache of information from the Reality Uncovered folks? Go for it! I have already pulled on my Hi-Top rubber boots.  

Regardless, I think Shawnna Connolly—given her sincere quest for the facts and her obvious bravery in the face of intimidation—would make an excellent witness in a courtroom. So would Stephen Broadbent and the other researchers associated with the Reality Uncovered (realityuncovered.net) exposé on Serpo, MJ-12, and related disinformation. A fuller discussion of these topics may be found at:

http://www.realityuncovered.net/blog/

Aaaargh! Speaking of MJ-12, I must now return to that sordid subject yet again.

MJ-Hell: It Still Lives!

For those of you unaware of this unfortunate development, we now have new-and-improved MJ-12 “documents” to further muddy the waters. Although no involvement with them on the part of Moore, Doty and/or Collins has been proved thus far, both Doty and Collins endorse their authenticity. These bogus papers came out of the woodwork, just as the first batch did 25 years ago, with no verifiable origin—that is, having no provenance, something essential to historical research, not to mention separating fact from fiction. Despite the sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle flaws and fabrications found in the latest batch of MJ-12 papers, a few well-intentioned researchers—who should have learned their lesson the first time around—have taken the new “documents” to heart and have, of their own volition, disseminated them far and wide while vouching for, or at least implicitly endorsing, their integrity. There are several websites devoted to the supposed validity of this MJ-Crap 2.0, but I certainly won’t advertize those fetid flytraps here.

I recommend instead the Fund for UFO Research’s online heads-up about one of the “documents,” the so-called SOM 1-01 field manual, supposedly written for military personnel engaged in the recovery of crashed UFOs:

http://www.cufos.org/ros5.html

 
On Frank’s web site the link to CUFOS is retained but the link to RU is replaced by a TinyURL.  Why?

[actually ALL the links to RU have now been removed and rendered non-functional but more about that later]

At 37 characters long, the RU link is only 7 characters longer than the CUFOS link and looking at Frank’s web site, the “rather slim main column” appears to be able to accommodate at least 60 characters given the font size he chose for the body of his article.  In fact a review of Robert’s draft finds that the longest of any of the links to RU was only 55 characters so this claim appears to be dubious at best.

Furthermore, Frank then goes on to claim that he found the links were “non-functional” in the original piece but this is simply not true.  Clicking on the links in Robert’s original Word document takes you to the intended web site so this appears to be another deliberate red herring.

At any rate, Frank then ends his message with the claim that the issue will be “remedied in short order” giving us (and Robert) the impression that he would replace the TinyURLs with fully “functional” direct links to RU as requested but is that true?  I assumed Frank was acting on good faith and responded…

That Robert would be an understatement.  :)

Thank you Frank for your understanding.  Please let us know when you get the direct links restored so we can return the favor.

As an aside, I still remember stumbling on to your site years ago when you had pretty much the only detailed information on the “Battle of LA” to be found anywhere on the net.

 
To which Frank responded…

No problem! I was surprised that I missed that; I appreciate the “heads up.”

BOLA is one of my pet cases, and the research continues to this day . . . I appreciate the acknowledgment.

 
Then some time later after some discussion of the BOLA case I got this second response to my above message from Frank…

links are in place by the way . . .

 
So I went back to his site to review the changes only to find… nothing had changed.  I responded…

I’m not seeing it… even tried Ctrl-F5.

 
To which Frank, perhaps confused, replied with a link to his website related to the BOLA case and I responded…

I was talking about the links to RU in Robert’s article… it appears you haven’t corrected them yet.

 
It was late and I got no response so I went to bed only to find this message from Frank in the morning…

Mornin’ Tom,

I just checked all the links in the piece and they are “all” functional . . .

 
To which I replied before heading off to work…

No they’re not.  The use of tinyurls (indirect linking through a third party) prevents the links from being indexed by Google and other web crawlers thus preventing the sites you link to benefit from cross linking.  In addition, tinyrurl is blocked by many web filters thus preventing those behind corporate firewalls from following the links.

This is bad netiquette and improper attribution of other people’s work is considered highly unprofessional.  One might get the impression you’re unduly biased against other points of view and I would hope a serious UFOlogist like Robert would prefer not to have his work associated with such practices.  As you know, credibility in this field is tough to come by and in the court of public opinion, credibility can be irrevocably lost in an instant these days.

If the links aren’t restored by the time I get home from work this evening I will assume you’re acting on bad faith and reneging on your statement to us that you would fix the problem and I will publish an expose in my critique of Robert’s article on both RU and BAUT detailing this and the spammer like technique you use to draw attention to your website and were recently called out for on ATS…

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread449706/pg1

 
When I got home I found this response in my inbox…

I have to say Tom, your accusatory tone and your assumptions towards people you don’t know give me pause in regards to your research. I see much irony here as you use “netiquette”,  i.e., courtesy and civility re Internet protocol as an argument to get your way; however, you seem to ignore the parent values in which they were derived, that is “etiquette” civility and common courtesy to the individual.

Furthermore, threatening me as a ploy to do your bidding isn’t a prudent move on your part–“honey” trumps “vinegar” every time.  As I stated previously:

“The links were shortened “for no other reason” then to accommodate the rather slim” main column; however, they were meant to be “full functioning” links, as presented by the author, Robert Hastings.”

I’m relatively certain Robert didn’t pen the article for your benefit, and I can say emphatically,  I didn’t publish it for that purpose.

I passionately support the ethics of “giving credit where credit is due” which is one of the reasons why I don’t yank the links out all together right now! The other is the respect I have for both Robert as a friend and colleague, and the appreciation I have for his decades of research/investigation into the UFO field. 

Credibility, and or respect  for a person is earned , and is only cognizant by those who are erudite with his or her character; I have achieved both long ago, and those who know me would vouch for that, as I would them.  Moreover, my actions have never been, nor will they ever be, dictated by the thoughts of others and or their opinions.

As I don’t know you, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume you wrote this missive in haste and without forethought.

My participation at ATS is to enlighten the ignorant, and provoke intelligent conversation, which is usually the end result there. What you fail to mention in association with the link provided (to the thread)  is that the critics were in the minority, and the thread was very highly rated by the merit system employed by ATS. Moreover, if you read the entire thread, you’d see that “it”, and myself,  were appropriately sanctioned by ATS CEO, Mark Springer. 

Paradoxically, that thread was instigated by “Robert’s work” in bringing two more missileers to the table to report their respective eyewitness account of UFOs at or near nuclear missile silos. Additionally, I have started a thread there for this article as well, as I often due with penscript that is unique to TUC.

Finally, I have never had any complaints, comments etc., in regards to using “Tinyurl” to shorten URLs to accommodate our site; no one has ever indicated that they could not get to a site we highlight using this tool.

We currently have readers in over 145 countries and in monitoring the traffic “for this article” and I can safely say that the numbers are significant, and I would presume, given the fact that there are links in place to your site, you are seeing some collateral traffic . . . which of course wouldn’t be the case if Robert hadn’t have penned the article in the first place, as well as by us inserting functioning links.

Had you expressed your concern with the common courtesy and decorum that you allude to “for the internet” I would have responded in kind. That said, I’m going to remove the “tinyurl link” and replace it with your web-site name.

 
It would appear Frank lied and never had any intention of honoring our request and fixing the links in the first place.  The links are all “non-functional” now.

By the way, this was Steve’s response to the above missive…

Hi Frank,

It might be easier in the case of long urls in a narrow column to shorten them as so:

<a href=”http://www.realiyuncovered.net/serpo”>Text goes here</a>

The only thing that would be displayed on your site would be:

Text goes here

Obviously, you can change the text to anything you like.

As for the problem with tinyurl’s, Google rankings and search results are determined in part by other sites cross-linking to each other. Using tinyurl circumvents this and thus the site being linked to does not receive any “credit” from Google and the like. Actually, using the correct url’s also benefits your site in the same way.

I hope that helps.

 
Was our initial skepticism justified?

You be the judge.

 

UPDATE: A copy of Robert’s article The MJ-12 Saga Continues: Operation Bird Droppings has now been posted in our forum for discussion.



Filed under: UFOlogy — Tags: , , , , — Access Denied @ 9:05 pm






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