December 19, 2011

By their works shall ye know them… [Part 1]


Ramifications of the 2011 F.E. Warren AFB UFO Hoax

By James Carlson

 

At what point along the journey to create or influence convincing public concern does a community of those with common beliefs and similar goals as a result of that belief have to reach before individual members of that community begin to consider whether a more dishonest or deceptive approach might be necessary to satisfy those goals?  And what if the extent or the measure of this supposed necessity, as such individuals might imagine it, is a reflection of their personal belief that the failure to accomplish these goals may well endanger or at least setback for some indefinite period the potential growth and development – in a very real cosmic sense – of their own species?  As it turns out, it’s about 50 years… give or take a decade or so.  Being a question of morality, it would, of course, depend on the individual.  Being a question of morality, however, it’s not an indifferent question, and it should, for that reason, be explored a bit.

In June 2011, Robert Hastings, American chronicler of fables and folktales and currently the loudest and most self-promoting voice in UFO proponent communities world-wide, paid Reuters Newswire a nice sum to distribute a press release that he had authored, thereby borrowing the impression of the same high credibility that the network has labored at for decades in regard to its own work without actually having any more credibility than Hastings himself can muster on any given day – which isn’t very much.

The story Hastings wrote is entitled “Robert Hastings: Unidentified Aerial Object Sighted During October 2010 Nuclear Missile Incident”, a title typical of his vehement yet somewhat insipid self-promotion.  It supposedly establishes UFO interference with the now well-known incident of equipment failure that occurred on October 23, 2010, at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  During this incident, launch technicians temporarily lost the ability to communicate with 50 of its Minuteman III missiles. The five Missile Alert Facilities responsible for those ICBMs would have been unable to fire them during the period of the disruption, although airborne commanders would still have been able to fire the weapons at will.

The credibility that Robert Hastings paid for, while nonexistent in and of itself, has nonetheless been assumed by those in the UFO proponent communities on the basis of Reuters’ reputation alone.  After all, as Reuters’ advertising department is fond of noting, with some truth, we should add, “Thomas Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for business and professionals.”  It should be stressed, however, that the content of this article came from Hastings alone, and had nothing at all to do with Reuters Newswire reporting.  They merely released the story upon payment.  One only has to examine the numerous reprints of this article of Hastings’ throughout the internet to measure the worth of the borrowed (or paid for) credibility that has been associated with these claims as a result of his apparent marketing savvy.

At http://warlords2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/check-out-this-incredible-reuters-ufo.html, for instance, the first thing we note is that “It is a bit unusual to get a UFO story from the likes of Reuters but here is one such case.”  The author calls it “this incredible Reuters #UFO story”.  Reuters?  Well, they insisted that the article be printed only with the rider “Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.”  They were merely selling the distribution of Hastings’ article, not the content.

Huffington Post has published, to their credit, a much more detailed airing of the story at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/07/ufos-at-nuclear-missile-site-eyewitnesses-afraid-to-talk_n_881802.html, but they also failed to examine the method itself that Robert Hastings has and continues to rely upon, a practice that allows him the freedom to invent whatever details he wants and call it “fact”.  It’s a freedom that has been allowed to take flight upon such airy and ill-imagined wings by other authors as well.

At http://earthstar.tripod.com/TSB_dir/2011/Radio0811.html, for example, Ray Larsen has also used this freedom to invent liberally, claiming that “a huge cigar-shaped craft was spotted by multiple witnesses, both civilian and military, hovering over the missile field and jamming communications with the missiles for 59 minutes.  The Air Force’s public face didn’t seem too upset about it, but some witnesses have reported receiving threats of severe penalties from their commanders for talking to reporters or researchers.”  It’s immediately notable that none of the above claims can be supported by anything at all aside from Hastings’ article, which pointedly fails to mention “multiple witnesses, both civilian and military” and merely implies (at best) that a UFO was “hovering over the missile field and jamming communications with the missiles”.  The rest of Larsen’s account in regard to Hastings “research” is equally devoid of anything that can actually be supported by more than the paranoia Hastings (and many others) are profiting from.  “I think the ETs, whoever they are, were close to ready for some form of contact, but now, I think they may be confused and have postponed their plans.  If they wanted to be a threat to this planet, I think they would have no problems in doing so, as their level of technology seems to still be beyond the understanding of our black budget scientists and engineers.”

Apparently the ETs aren’t the only ones who are confused…

It’s not the first time that Robert Hastings has performed this little con on the internet.  He did the same thing in the days leading up to his much (and very properly) ridiculed press conference of September 27, 2010.

At http://flyingflashlight.com/tag/robert-hastings/, for instance, we learned that “A major news organization says flying saucers are toying with American nuclear weapons, but you better read the byline and ‘article’”.  This author looked a little closer, and hats off to him:  “I am suspecting an automatic feed from PR Newswire to Reuters.com has created this most alarming of headlines to be prominently displayed on the organization’s home page (it’s the No. 2 most-popular article): U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects.

“If you stopped right there and didn’t read any further, you would fail to discover that this piece of information being presented as an ‘article’ is actually a paid-for advertisement (oh, I mean ‘press release’) for an upcoming news media conference of ex-military members who plan to discuss their experiences with unidentified flying objects.”

At http://www.facebook.com/lesliekean/posts/143133802389746, author Leslie Kean (who should know better and who will be discussed in more detail later for that very reason) notifies us that “Reuters has posted the press release about the upcoming press conference on U.S. nuclear weapons being compromised by unidentified aerial objects, organized by Robert Hastings and Robert Salas, on Sept. 27th in Washington. The media needs to be alerted about this.”  Yes, I’m certain the media felt the same way immediately following that little rape of the truth.  The Washington Post reporter who attended that pathetic little example of Scrappy-doo show-boating was quite clear that the only thing of value he could find were the cookies that were made available to the press.  Those who watched the DVD that Salas and Hastings were trying to sell immediately afterwards didn’t even get that.  It’s a shame they couldn’t at least have included a coupon for 25 cents off a package of Toll House chocolate chip cookies, but these entrepreneurs simply aren’t the type to plan so far in advance.  Proof of this can be verified from any summary of losses incurred from their DVD sales of the event when potential customers discovered almost immediately that they could watch the conference on CNN for free, an unfortunate development when profiteers fail to weigh the future out-of-pocket costs to their budding business portfolio when the event they’ve planned in such detail so far in advance is freely open to all press and media representatives who might also wish to attend.  Not that it matters much; they’ll likely recoup their losses when the movie version is finally released, unless they do something completely boneheaded like bar any use of Muppets ® technology.  That’s not a joke either – those Muppets ® can turn almost any silly idea into a blockbuster summer release, if you give them a little lead time.

At http://roblorinov.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/robert-hastings-unidentified-aerial-object-sighted-during-october-2010-nuclear-missile-incident-reuters/, we read “Amazing that Reuters is reporting this as the major mainstream media do not usually report UFO activity.  What is reported in this story is NOT the first time a US missile system has been rendered nonfunctional while a UFO is in the area.”  Of course, this particular claim hasn’t been examined by the writer of the piece – he’s assuming that Hastings is telling the truth both here and in his book UFOs and Nukes, which purports to catalogue such events.  As a result, the writer’s assumption that the incident “is NOT the first time a US missile system has been rendered nonfunctional while a UFO is in the area” is based on nothing, certainly not Reuter’s credibility, which in this case has been bought and paid for by Robert Hastings as a way to establish credibility that he’s failed to establish with his writings alone.  It’s just more unconscious disinformation by people who are otherwise unable to back up their claims with anything more than “Hastings says it’s true.”  The writer of the article isn’t necessarily lying; he simply believes the claims of a charlatan and a fraud who is creating this belief for reasons of his own, reasons having nothing at all to do with an accurate accounting of the “incidents” he and others are associating with UFOs – incidents that simply cannot be substantiated by any jury outside of the imagination they’ve liberally applied to the subject at hand.

It isn’t the first time that Robert Hastings has attempted to make such claims.  In relation to a case of numerous missile failures that occurred in March 1967 at Malmstrom AFB, he attempted the same type of deception.  Fortunately for anybody insisting upon a measure of valid evidence, a true accounting of testimony, or a determined and faithfully assessed credibility in regard to that testimony, the witnesses he has used to establish these claims have insisted very clearly that he was lying and denounced entirely any interference, reporting, or investigation resulting from any UFO incident Robert Hastings or Robert Salas have proposed.  Both are merely being deceptive, a fact that was easily proven once the “witnesses” were reinterviewed by individuals with a more ethical concern for the truth than any possessed by these two UFOlogical frauds.

It should be pointed out, however, that Robert Hastings learned something very important from the subsequent and embarrassing exposé of his methods.  He learned that his “witnesses” can be tracked down and reinterviewed, at which point the truth can be made known.  And when the weak link in your claims happens to be inherent to your use of non-witness witnesses capped by an inability to properly interpret what testimony has been presented, the best recourse – for those wishing to continue with the presentation of such false claims – is to prevent others from gaining access to your witnesses, thereby removing any embarrassing revelations that might come about subsequent to the lie.  It should come as no surprise, therefore, that this is exactly what Robert Hastings has now done.  He purchased the apparently marketable commodity of credibility held by Reuters as a result of their own fine and professional conduct, because he knew that credibility would be necessary in order to freely assert another hoax regarding UFOs and nuclear missile failures.  He then followed up this sad little attempt at reputation repair by essentially taking the weak link represented by the witnesses and their testimony completely out of the equation.  That’s right, folks:  Robert Hastings went anonymous…

By adapting the witness to the lie, Hastings was able to rediscover for himself the Great Lesson of fashionable con-artists worldwide, from P.T. Barnum through a long line of hidden personalities trying to sell crack outside of Narcotics Anonymous meetings:  surprise! anonymity can protect not only his witnesses from being questioned about those little details that Robert Hastings invented out of nothing – tossing ‘em in just as the story starts to gel around the public’s perception with a slick panache guaranteed by addled, nameless used-car salesmen everywhere to make the story sound a little better than anything you’ve got in your pocket right now – but can also prevent the sad-eyed teamster leaning against the telephone pole downstairs from picking up the common knowledge of Hastings’ own fraudulent activities and exposing them to the Greek hooker on the stairway who doesn’t even give a damn about UFOs, and just wants a little iced tea and lemonade in a clean glass by the time The Simpsons come on.  It’s another one of those ageless “I can create an indefinable wall between me and those skeptical critics by inventing a witness, but keeping everything about him a secret” type of lessons.  This type of deception, however, requires a little extra on the other side of the equation, making the weight of established credibility of the sort Reuters has turned into a marketable commodity a great and necessary benefit when it’s associated by no fault of their own with attempts to use imaginary witnesses to establish a point of view that’s so essentially separate and unassociated with the author’s – this, of course, being Robert Hastings.

Hastings’ article not only makes this anonymity very clear, but emphasizes as well the use that only he is willing to put it to:

Regarding the recent situation at F.E. Warren AFB, Hastings emphasizes, “My sources have not said that the UFO sighted during the October 23, 2010 missile-communications disruption actually caused it. And it must be noted that the Air Force’s Global Strike Command has officially attributed the problem to an improperly-replaced circuit card in a weapons-system processor.”

 He adds, “Nevertheless, the intermittent presence of a huge, cigar-shaped aerial craft during the hours-long –- not minutes-long –- crisis was definitely noted and remarked upon by various technical teams working in the base’s missile field.”

And that’s how you take a lie and turn it into something all brand new and sparkly, like a box full of stars tossed up into the heavens.  It’s a shame these witnesses have refused to come forward, if they even exist at all.  In firm recognition of the dire importance Robert Hastings has placed on this issue of anonymity, without once focusing on the fact that he has again struck the hammer against the steel, sparks flying like tiny little abrasions in the wind, and has repeated old sins by making a number of spurious, pointless and fact-free claims without presenting anything at all in the way of validated evidence to back it up, that last supposition absolutely must be properly addressed.  The creation of such alleged witnesses, after all, encompasses an implied deception that many people – who are very willing to come forward – are quite certain that Hastings is more than capable of.  It also fits in very well with any collation of his past failures to build a case in the absence of the tools and materials necessary to do so honestly.  The facts of his past deceptions alone would establish quite handily his moral capabilities for such a strategy.  The ease with which his claims can be shattered, in many cases by simply analyzing his work for elements that cannot be reconciled with any of the internal conflicts typical of the military environment he limits himself to, and yet refuses to learn anything about, tends to support his capability for invention far more than his ability to uncover hidden facts that the rest of the world has failed – for whatever reasons – to notice.  Where anonymity describes the source, as it does here, Robert Hastings can say absolutely anything he likes.  The sad truth is, he’s done it before; invention is, after all, his forté.

The suspicions raised by the assumed anonymity of his only witnesses must to be examined if we’re to consider any of these recent claims credible at all, particularly when any attempts to confirm such claims – this search for confirmation beginning shortly after he broke this “big” story – instantly produce literally dozens of insistent, disgusted affirmations that there was no UFO in fact or rumor, nor was a UFO reported or investigated.  Most members of the military are justifiably proud of their accomplishments and their service, so when someone like Robert Hastings – who never served in the military – assumes the arrogance necessary to redefine those accomplishments and that service, doing so by trivializing their contributions to national defense, they generally respond with understandable anger and rancor, something that Hastings has never acknowledged, preferring by far to use unsustained anecdotes to establish a case that simply can’t be made honestly.  Anonymity must, therefore, be examined in accordance with its purpose – this purpose being the creation of a myth.

Part Two follows tomorrow.



Filed under: UFOlogy,Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , — James Carlson @ 12:25 pm






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