Latest Infighting at MUFON Accidentally Reveals Web of Connections Between MUFON, Robert Bigelow, the Pentagon, To the Stars, and A+E Networks
Last week, MUFON official Phil Leech posted a letter criticizing many aspects of MUFON’s management, including claims that MUFON officials were corruptly using the organization as a piggy bank for themselves and their relatives, infighting among cliques of officials, and continued support for racist MUFON official John Ventre. But there were a few claims in the letter that were insightful and rather astonishing. These surround Leech’s description of how some MUFON members are profiting handsomely from selling MUFON case studies to the cable TV sausage factory:
After some time I began to question facts surrounding upcoming TV opportunities which include Netflix, Discovery Channel, History Channel and how MUFON fits in to it all. What I found is MUFON is not fitting in at all. What is happening is MUFON Case reports are being used for upcoming TV shows but the name MUFON will not be used in any way. According to [director of investigations] Chase [Kloetzke] and Roger Marsh (MUFON Media) MUFON cases will be used without the MUFON name. These cases will be presented on TV by Chase and one other Team member and 3 other people that are not with MUFON. They will be paid for their appearance on these shows. So in reality any case that MUFON has in its data base can be used and benefit only those involved in shows. Roger Marsh, according to Chase, will be paid a large amount of money for his part from the Media side of things. Getting paid per episode per TV Network. In Chase[’]s own words "Roger is making Bank."
Leech added that MUFON officials admitted that TV producers did not want the most compelling or convincing UFO stories but those with a “wow factor” that would capture audience attention. This seems to be the same trap that led Hangar 1 down the rabbit hole to embellishment.
MUFON’s Roger Marsh disputed some of the claims (mostly about Marsh’s own behavior) in a response given to Jack Brewer of The UFO Trail blog, but provided no evidence that Leech’s statements about MUFON’s TV projects were inaccurate. He said only that Leech lacked a “complete picture.”
I have to admit to taking a certain amount of vicarious pleasure in hearing that cable TV’s low standards are still too high to let MUFON back in after the debacle that was Hangar 1. I hated that series, not least because they fabricated government documents as part of their “embellishment,” and it’s good to see that the show’s unethical behavior has come back to haunt MUFON. I wouldn’t be surprised if the John Ventre racism scandal didn’t play a role, too. But I am more disappointed that cable TV networks think that the problem is one of branding rather than the corruption at the heart of the UFO-media axis, as though hiding the MUFON name corrects the many failures of UFO media.
When Brewer tried to follow up on the letter and confirm its assertions, it received some fascinating information. Chase Kloetzke confirmed that Robert Bigelow was indeed involved with MUFON a few years ago. He and MUFON made an agreement to share UFO case study date, and he served as a facilitator for a major cash infusion that kept the organization afloat. Part of the money funding a mutual Bigelow-MUFON venture came indirectly from the U.S. government via the Pentagon’s funding of Bigelow’s UFO research, for Bigelow was concurrently a contractor for the Pentagon’s UFO tracking program, known as AATIP. It is not at all surprising to discover that MUFON has been part of the same constellation as the Pentagon, Skinwalker Ranch, To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, and the other Bigelow-funded or Bigelow-adjacent enterprises profiting from UFO studies.
And in the end, it all comes back to A+E Networks, the parent company of the History Channel, who are somehow deeply entwined in the whole sorry mess. They were behind Hangar 1. They publicize UFO propaganda weekly on Ancient Aliens and Project Blue Book, and now we learn that they are working with Luis Elizondo of To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science on a new TV series in which they’ll be tracking down alleged alien artifacts and monetizing their “research” for cash money.
According to Leech and Kloetzke, MUFON obtained an alleged alien implant from a supposed UFO abductee in Oklahoma, and A+E Networks took the implant for “testing” on a new show Elizondo will be presenting based on To the Stars’ “Project A.D.A.M.” According to Kloetzke:
The artifact was picked up by A.D.A.M. This is a TV show that is also under a non-disclosure agreement. The artifact did go to a lab but it was quickly learned that the lab would not be able to analyze further. […] It was never turned over to TTSA or AATIP but it was Lue Elizondo with the production company from A&E that picked it up for transport. The ownership and analysis remained in the name of MUFON, in fact A.D.A.M. TTSA nor AATIP know nothing of the details of the implant and are NOT briefed on any results. The results and full report will be released by the original lead investigators in Oklahoma and the Special Assignment Team.
So there you have it. All the moving parts are now tied into one incestuous clusterfuck of UFO exploitation. The History Channel, To the Stars, Robert Bigelow, Skinwalker Ranch, the Pentagon, MUFON—all of them have financial, operational, or personal stakes in one another as taxpayer dollars and cable TV advertising money grease the wheels of self-promotion and self-delusion.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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