Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

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Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby torbjon » Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:56 am

The primary reason that I became involved in this endeavor has nothing to do with how the owners of ATS treated me. Rather, it has to do with the impact ATS has on world wide media, in general. People who have never heard of ATS are affected by their content. If it were simply a matter of ATS members alone, as much as I care for them and their safety - honestly? To 'ell with 'em. They go there willingly; they know what they are doing; it's their choice.

In the Beginning...

My first real suspicion that the owners of ATS were less than ethical happened after my banning. Indeed, it was that final banning, and subsequent cold shoulder, that caused me to start thinking along those lines.

The events shortly before, during, and directly after my final banning, led to the formulation of the following scenario - a scenario which I personally find quite frightening.

I joined ATS shortly before SERPO hit the scene. Some of you lived through that, while for others it's just ancient history. Something that may not be readily apparent now is that the SERPO saga was a nice shot in the arm for ATS. They received a lot of new members, and some incredible site traffic, during that 'story'. Something that may not be remembered, or readily known, is that there was an increase of google ads on ATS during the unfolding of that story.

I believe that this was probably the first time, since ATS began, that the owners of that site started to see anything that could resemble "real money" from their website.

It was shortly after SERPO that the LLP came into being, and ATS was overhauled - including new servers, more 'bells and whistles', extra features for the membership, etc.

Time passed; life went on.

Money Talks

Unbeknownst to the membership, there were some 'private investors' looking to invest money into ATS. We still don't know who they are, but I've been led to believe (by the owners of ATS) that these private investors were 'friends' with the owners. This leads me to believe that the investment was not an out-of-the-blue surprise to the owners. Rather, owners and 'friends' chit-chatted, probably quite often, prior to the signing of the check.

In more recent times, the owners of ATS implied that the investors did not fork over money as a tax write-off. Rather, the investors were (and are) seeking to make a Profit from their investment.

I feel that prior to the signing of the check, during the chit chat phase between owners and investors, the investors made that point crystal clear to the owners: We'll give you the money, but we want to see a return. How can you guarantee us a return?

How do you go about 'guaranteeing' a specific number of targeted pageviews during an allotted amount of time? The most recent example of incredible page views in a short period of time, on ATS, was SERPO. Gig is, SERPO was a hoax! On top of that it was a 100%, internet generated, internet contained, hoax.

Fabricating a hoax themselves runs the risk of getting caught, and losing everything (or worse). Hiring someone to generate and perpetuate a hoax for you runs the same risks. Something else was needed.

In steps the Chicago O'Hare UFO story.

O'Hare - The Golden Egg

This was a real life event. SOMETHING happened in the real world, and non-internet documentation by real agencies was generated. No one could cry 100% hoax over it.

The problem (or perhaps blessing) with that story was that Nobody Cared. The story had been around for a while and nobody had really picked it up. Bill Irvine tried a few times, both in open forum, and in the private Fair Skeptics forum, to spark interest in the story, to no avail.

Nobody really Cared.

And then The Picture appeared. Magically, mysteriously, the much-needed Picture appeared on ATS, and only ATS, from a mysterious stranger, who didn't take the picture themself, but rather got it from someone else who "claims they shot this at the airport".

The person who created The Picture has never come forward.

The mysterious person who posted the picture on ATS (and only ATS) has never come forward.

The Picture itself was product branded with an "abovetopsecret.com" watermark within four hours of being posted on ATS. The practice of product branding fuzzy pictures of UFOs by ATS was unheard of then. And, from what I can see, now as well.

The "Fair Skeptic" Discussions

According to Bill Irvine, posted in private Fair Skeptics forum (Feb. 7, 2007, 6:27 PM (post id: 2935963):

"I labeled images that were sent directly to ATS that I deemed headed toward massive online attention... and they were, and now the source is preserved."

I find it interesting that within four hours of seeing yet another fuzzy picture of a UFO, that Bill Irvine 'knew' that THAT picture would be headed toward MASSIVE online attention.

On Jan. 21, 2007 4:54 PM (post id: 2893993)
Jeff Ritzmann made the following statement in the private Fair Skeptics forum:

"Turning over to Cheepnis

If it's ok with him. For the next 6 months I'm going to be heavily involved in co-authoring a book, and having to do a fair amount of traveling. This was a completely unexpected turn for me, and sadly I'm not going to have alot of online time to track down or get info on cases.

I still think this is a worthy endeavor, but I wont be able to participate like I had previously thought. I'll still check in, and if anyone needs help I'm just an email away jeff.ritzmann@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.ext

My apologies for bowing out, it's truly unavoidable, and unexpected."


The Picture appeared in open forum on Jan. 23, 2007, 7:29 PM. (post id: 2898150)

Less than twelve hours later, the same Jeff Ritzmann who was going to be heavily involved in co-authoring a book, and doing a fair amount of traveling, began an in depth analysis of The Picture in open forum, starting on Jan 24, 2007 (post id: 2899674) and continuing for quite sometime thereafter.

The Photo "Analysis"

Jeff Ritzmann, as talented and skilled as he is, isn't much of a 'name' though. However, he has a personal friend who IS a name in the industry, David Biedny.

Jeff and David quickly became the "be all and end all" of photo analysis, when it came to The Picture.
Any contrary opinions of the validity of The Picture were played down by the management of ATS, no matter how talented, skilled or well known the individual making the contrary opinion was. Jeff and David were IT.

ALL Jeff and David had to do to 'keep the story going' was to repeatedly state: 'we can't prove that The Picture is a fake'

That's an incredibly SAFE statement to make, even if the picture is 100% falsified. ("Oh, it IS fake? Well, what do you know, learn something knew everyday. At least we tried")

During the two weeks following the arrival of The Picture, Bill and Mark played down the opinions of other photoshop users (and at least one specialist, ATS member "photochopz"), and also came down hard on any ATS member who made comparisons between the O'Hare story and SERPO. At the same time, Jeff and David continued saying things like "we can't prove that it is a fake, here are reasons why we think it Might be genuine". While all of this was going on, the O'Hare thread on ATS grew by 68 pages, and only Bill and Mark know how many page views they received.

Shortly after this, The Above Network receives funding from private investors and becomes an LLC.

A Real Hoax - Is it an Oxymoron?

The O'Hare thread was left to die out on it's own.

Hoax?

Of course not. It was a real event.

Utilization of a real event to target specific page views, over a specific time frame, by manipulating the natural flow of the thread?

You tell me.

Prior to ATS involvement with the O'Hare UFO story, nobody cared about it. It was a non-event, not worth the internet or the media's time.

After ATS involvement with the O'Hare UFO story, it was a major event - discussed widely across the internet and covered by all branches of media across the globe.

Why does this disturb me?

It's a little thing I call the William Randolph Hearst scenario.

I feel that the WRH event is happening again, right before our eyes - and we're letting it.

Prior to common access to the internet, the WRH thing happened within other media outlets... the Time/Warner/HBO/ etc. conglomerate being a good example. However, in those days it happened without us really knowing, and without us having an inexpensive and effective means for communicating our concerns about it...

But not now, not today.

User-Generated Content

Bill and Mark have stated repeatedly, here at RU, that it is the ATS Membership which determines what's a story and what's not; what's worth talking about, promoting, and being aware of, and what's not.

I want assurances of that.

I want the ATS membership to have complete and total control over what they wish to discuss, and what they wish to ignore. I do not want to see statements like this from ATS CEO Bill Irvine, posted in private Fair Skeptic forum on 14-1-2007 at 03:40 PM (post id: 2878313)

"Not to influence you guys or anything but...

Someone just jumped into the O'Hare UFO thread who claims to be an eye witness.

(hint hint nudge nudge)"


Owners and Moderators of ATS should not be attempting to steer, or influence, the content generated by their membership. Especially if the purpose of such guidence is to generate revenue for themselves, with little or no concern for global consequences.

YES. Maybe raising public awareness about UFOs (or any other topic) is a 'good' thing. Maybe it isn't. The choice should be Yours.

In closing, I am NOT the only person on the face of this planet who suspects something fishy about the O'Hare story, and how it unfolded on ATS. One person who publicly expressed a great deal of concern over that story, as it was unfolding, can still be found on ATS today, in a respected position of power and authority.

So before some of you ATS folks go ripping me a new one, or start stalking my kid or something, perhaps you should chat with that person, and see what they think about all of this today.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2899267.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2899592.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2902812.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2902895.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2904621.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2904848.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2905148.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2907164.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/2916858.html

Good night, good luck, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

twj
Last edited by torbjon on Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Access Denied » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:50 am

EPIC post Torbjon!

I remember when this was all going down at ATS and thinking to myself “Surely I’m not the only one noticing something fishy is going on here???”

In fact I was shocked to see that as recently as this post…

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thr ... pid3843558

[emphasis mine]

reply posted on 30-12-2007 @ 07:09 AM by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Forell
Is there any photo of this incident that havent been debunked??

The image in the opening post...

http://atsmedia.cachefly.net/uploads/at ... g_1563.jpg

This image has been shown to the witnesses contacted by the Chicago Tribune reporter that broke the story. We've been told that each witness has confirmed the object, location, and conditions in the cell-phone photo.

As far as we know, this is the only photo to have been authenticated by more than one eye witness to the event.

[NOTE: The above should NOT be misconstrued to imply the Chicago Tribune reporter, Jon Hilkevitch, performed this confirmation - AD]

…and this post here…

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thr ... pid3742035

reply posted on 26-11-2007 @ 11:50 AM by jritzmann

Originally posted by AFRLPT
1) What was the final (best) judgement of the 'cell phone' photo?

That it was very likely legitimate however tampered with. Done so in such a manner as to not damage or call into question the UO, but rather anyone who would come out and call it a real unfettered photo of the event. As the case remains unsolved, and more photos / video may be forthcoming, I wont reveal anything more then that. Those of us who worked extensively need an edge over whomever might be trying to soil or coverup the event.

…Bill Irvine and Jeff Ritzmann are still endorsing this image as authentic even after Jeff (with troubling speed and ease) found the original image (sans “UFO”) and flipped his position on it.

One wonders exactly who told them each witness confirmed the object as claimed above by Bill?

It should be noted this photo was discussed in footnote 86 on page 109 in the NARCAP report as NOT being confirmed by one of the witnesses…

http://www.narcap.org/reports/010/TR10_Case_18a.pdf

[86] Personal correspondence received March 6, 2007. A second alleged UAP photo from this date, time, and location was also visually evaluated by this witness. It showed airport lights across its lower edge; most of the frame showed an evenly gray sky with a small oval image located in the upper right center of the photograph. Printed in the upper left. and lower right corner of this photo was "AboveTopSecret.com" The witness said the object shown was not what he saw. It was "…too big and not enough contrast."

As far as I know, the poster “eyewitness” on ATS (aka “Ms. J.H.” who’s mysteriously “disappeared” according to Mark) that “authenticated” the image, has only been “vetted” (by phone) to Mark Allin, Linda Moulton Howe, and his MUFON buddy (Sam Maranto, Illinois State Director)… not by any independent third party.

Also, contrary to Bill’s claim above, there appears to be some discrepancies with the location and conditions depicted in that photo as pointed out in this recent thread here on RU…

Chicago Weather: November 07, 2006
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1296

We (RU) would be VERY interested in hearing from anybody else who’s noticed anything suspicious about this or has information to share.
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby ryguy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:51 am

Any witnesses or "insiders" who step forward will receive due credit if you want it, or full anonymity if you don't.

All help is appreciated.

Thanks,
-Ry
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Chorlton » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:44 am

Access Denied wrote:EPIC post Torbjon!

I remember when this was all going down at ATS and thinking to myself “Surely I’m not the only one noticing something fishy is going on here???”



My problem when I was on ATS was, I thought everyone else (apart from the braindead) DID know what was going on.
It was only once I started on the Chinese lanterns things, that I realised many people were completely stupid and would believe anything if it is stated in a pseudo-scientific way by someone with a scientific sounding Nic.
Even pretty much incontrovertible proof proving what certain phenomen was didnt deter those who oh so badly wanted to believe.
And its this phenomena, the stupidity, that the Packet of 3 feed off of and promote. They encourage the outrageous whilst supressing the blindly obvious.
Because scandal, the unknown. the doubtfull, that which makes the fools say 'Oh Wow man' attracts more fools to the hive, that makes more click throughs which equates to money.
'Make the idiots feel important' should be the watchword of ATS not deny ignorance, because if they actually did Deny the ignorants they wouldnt have an audience. Its the old ' rope a dope' trick.
I have become that which I always despised and feared........Old !

My greatest wish, would be to own my own scrapyard.
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Zep Tepi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:40 pm

Awesome post Torbjon, there's certainly a lot of food for thought there...

In fact, I liked it so much I've added it as an article on the main website, accessible from here.

Once again, great write-up!

Cheers,
Steve
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Count » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:47 pm

It appears that the single post links to ATS no longer work - at least I can't get them open. Only thing I get is "404 Not Found".
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Zep Tepi » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:48 pm

They appear to be fine for me? Have you been banned recently at ATS? It could be that your IP address has been blacklisted.

Cheers,
Steve
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby torbjon » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:32 pm

*laughs* so That's how they are... mmph.

Single Post Links:

The Single Post Links listed at the bottom of my opening post above lead to comments made by ATS (then member, now Mod) Dr. Love.

They seem to no longer work if you FOLLOW THEM FROM HERE. However, if you cut and paste them into a new browser window which does not contain an RU page then they seem to still work just fine.

In other words, they are Not blocking individual users IP addresses but rather referrals from RU.

The above list was only a partial example of his comments. I made copies of them in case 'someone' decides to edit or delete them... by mistake of course.

I will make them availible if they become impossible to find and folks are truly interested however I respectfully request that folks take the time and energy to investigate this on their own and make their own conclusions about the matter...

NOTE: ALL LINKS TO ATS FROM RU HAVE BEEN BLOCKED BY ATS. THE LINKS ARE CURRENTLY STILL VALID, YOU JUST CAN'T FOLLOW THEM FROM HERE.

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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Count » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:48 pm

Ahh, the old referrer trick, I should've guessed. I could login so I'm not banned, and I don't know of any reason I could / should be banned, unless the post above (my very first here, no less!) counts against me.
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby ryguy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:51 pm

torbjon wrote:In other words, they are Not blocking individual users IP addresses but rather referrals from RU.



That's an old standard ATS tactic. No worries - I heard from a little birdy that after this weekend they'll have to block referrals from about 200 article directories as well.

-Ry

**Edit to add: I've advised the birdy that they aren't worth the time or the effort (I can think of far better websites to promote with referral links than ATS). Move along...move along...lol***
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby Forestlady » Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:10 pm

Excellent work, Torbjon, thank you for all your efforts. Your scenario sounds highly likely, sad to say.

If you delete your cookies, you will be able to access the pages in the article. I read that they put cookies on your browser so that you can't access ATS if you've been banned. I tried it and it works.
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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby pierreletrek » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:41 am

Hello forest lady and all in here!

Absoluteley brill post. I just wish I could post this on ats along with many other people who are there I,m sure (I'm of course banned). ATS really has changed in the short time I was there.

Its not even about pictures, or anything else, its about the ats owners hanging themselves in the past which is " documented history". I,m sure and hope it wont be long before ats is made fun of in one way! At the same time its a shame as there are some very good minds on there.......................................Sorry yes it is all about the lies and BS on ats, can I be your friend MODS, and a** licking tw#ts who put up with it.

Since "chrissonabike" joined, the whole thing went down, down, down. But As torbjon says, " more revenue", yippee for the lads. I,m glad RW is aware and why should he not be involved in whats going on but I hope he looks at RU.net and dont fall into the ats trap.

Its not full of CIA or ABCDEFG, its full of un-knowledgable idiots I think now! The public are doin it to them selves.

Any road great post and I hope it gets some kind of link somehow to ats.

BTW Ryan I still never had a reply from Bill mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............................

You guys are hitting a nerve I think, and I just sent a group email to my mates to look at this forumn, hope it works.

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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby ryguy » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:29 am

pierreletrek wrote:BTW Ryan I still never had a reply from Bill mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............................


LOL...I'm not surprised.

You guys are hitting a nerve I think, and I just sent a group email to my mates to look at this forumn, hope it works.

PLT


Awesome - thanks for that. There are some great legitimate stories out there that deserve a level-headed and sound discussion - whether it's psychic phenomenon, hauntings, ufos, or any other subject that isn't cut-and-dry. There needs to be a place where sane people can go where they don't have to worry about the "nutters" coming in and destroying all reason and logic. That's the vision that we've got for RU. Maybe we should change our motto to "nutters need not apply." lol...

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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby mojo » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:49 am

ryguy wrote: Maybe we should change our motto to "nutters need not apply." lol...

-Ry


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who decides who is sane?

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Re: Alleged O'Hare UFO Photo Reveals Possible ATS Hoax

Postby lost_shaman » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:21 am

torbjon wrote:Prior to ATS involvement with the O'Hare UFO story, nobody cared about it. It was a non-event, not worth the internet or the media's time.

After ATS involvement with the O'Hare UFO story, it was a major event - discussed widely across the internet and covered by all branches of media across the globe.


Hey torbjon,

Always good to talk to you again, that said... I'm sorry to say, but I just don't think what you are saying here is accurate.

Peter Davenport had 'leaked' the event by posting it on the Front Page of his NUFORC website within the week of the event. This was a developing story for several weeks before the "O'Hare" thread appeared on ATS, Dec. 8th 2006. The "O'Hare" thread was inactive after Dec. 12th with only 10 posts until Jan. 1st 2007. The latter date is the same date of the Hilkevitch article in the Chicago Tribune, which happened to be the most read article ever in the history of the website.

It was only then after national and international attention from MS Media that the ATS thread again became active. There were 35 posts made on Jan. 1st, 2007 between 6:16 pm and midnight!

The truth is that this was already a major event despite the subsequent ATS thread that developed after the Hilkevitch article.
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