UFO Investigator Blasts Lack of Transparency in UFO Studies, Seems to Blame CIA Mind Control Experiments
I am tentatively planning to collect some of my best blog post from late 2013 through now for a collection of essays similar to my 2013 anthology Faking History. If you have a favorite blog post you think should be included, feel free to let me know. The only stipulation is that I won’t be using book or TV reviews. In theory, someday those will go into another book. I don’t have a timeline on producing the book yet, but the first step is gathering to the material together. I’m looking for around 50 total blog posts, articles, and essays to fill out the volume.
Today I thought I’d share with you what I’ve read recently about UFO investigator Jack Brewer’s new self-published book, The Greys Have Been Framed. In the book, according to the promotional text (I have not read the book), Brewer looks into the “UFO community” and uncovers misconduct ranging from U.S. government interference to scientific fraud to outright hoaxing for cash. The overall theme seems to be that the “UFO community” of believers have been taken for a ride by a long line of charlatans and hucksters who are more interested in making UFOs into entertainment to sell conference tickets and low-quality books than they are in uncovering the so-called truth.
Brewer is a former grant writer, and he therefore examines the UFO movement through the lens of grant writing and non-profit accountability. In an interview with Lee D. Munro, Brewer explained that organizations claiming to search for the truth lack even basic levels of financial transparency, rendering them suspect:
… nonprofit organizations in the American UFO community lack transparency as compared to their counterparts in other segments of the nonprofit industry. Nonprofit organizations, frequently structured as 501(c)3 tax exempt corporations of the US Internal Revenue Service code, typically prioritize transparency in not only their financial matters, but also operations. Nonprofits often post their most recent financial audits on their websites for easy public access, as well as detailed reports of funding sources, primary program activities and significant accomplishments.
He went on to criticize ufology nonprofits for making their leadership difficult to contact and for hiding financial conflicts of interest and the sources of their funding. “We should expect much higher levels of accountability and attention to detail from nonprofits that solicit our funding dollars and claim to be professionally operated.”
It hardly surprises me that UFO nonprofits would have shady accounting practices and a lack of disclosure. After six decades of “research” into UFOs, these organizations have produced not a single piece of verifiable evidence in favor of extraterrestrial spacecraft or interdimensional demons (or whatever they pretend UFOs are these days), but they have bilked their membership out of untold millions of dollars in fundraising. We’ve all heard about deceptive charities that spend the vast majority of their income on executive salaries and more fundraising campaigns, so it would hardly surprise me to learn that UFO nonprofits are similarly piggy banks for their leaders. That said, I’m assuming that Brewer is primarily taking aim at MUFON, the only nonprofit in the field he mentions by name. I have no information about MUFON’s financial structure, so I can’t comment on the implied criticism.
However, Brewer seems to suggest that one of the reasons for the lack of transparency—and here he goes off on the UFO crazy train—is that it covers deep U.S. government infiltration of the UFO community for mind control purposes. He apparently feels, if I understand his interviews correctly, that intelligence agencies are manipulating organizations and individuals for a variety of purposes, and he suggests (quite against all known documentation and based on the work of, sigh, Nick Redfern) that the CIA used mind control drugs to induce a UFO hallucination in Betty and Barney Hill as part of a racist plot to suppress the Civil Rights movement. I haven’t seen any documentation that would suggest this level of interest, though in the 1960s the government certainly did send in agents to monitor UFO meetings for covert Soviet propaganda, and the CIA and Air Force happily used UFOs as a cover for testing new aircraft.
His source, Redfern, claims the CIA paid John Fuller, the author of The Interrupted Journey, an account of the Hill abduction, to hide CIA-implicating mind control details related to the now-declassified MK ULTRA experiments in favor of a UFO narrative. The warrant for this, according to Redfern, is that Fuller once did research for a book on a mass-ergot poisoning incident in Pont-Saint-Esprit, France in 1951 that Redfern attributes to mind control experiments, despite the widespread scholarly consensus to the contrary. The trouble is that while Fuller had been aware of the story since reading of it in a newspaper in 1951, he only wrote the book about the French incident in 1968, two years after The Interrupted Journey. If he was a CIA patsy, it seems odd that the CIA waited many years after the fact to use him as such and then purposely revived interest in stories that few either remembered or cared about.
Redfern alleged in his 2014 book Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind that Fuller received information about MK ULTRA from parapsychologist Karlis Osis in 1957 but he provides no source and admits that he has no information that Fuller ever followed up on the alleged tip. (There isn’t any evidence Osis had any knowledge of MK ULTRA in 1957, so far as I can tell.) As with so many Redfern claims, they only make sense if you already believe the conclusion they are supposed to support.
Redfern has claimed in various online postings that he has declassified documents to support his version of events, but he has never quoted from or provided these, so far as I can tell.
Redfern’s claims aren’t original to him (surprise!) and can be found going back many years. An earlier version by H. P. Albarelli, Jr., in 2009 is less sensational: Fuller wrote an article about parapsychology in 1957, and he interviewed Osis for it. Osis then asked Fuller if he wanted to learn more about his ESP and afterlife experiments, which he did. As it turns out, Osis’s work was partially funded by grants from the military and the CIA (as was much junk science in the 1950s) in an effort to counter alleged Soviet parapsychology, which then lets us “connect” Osis to MK ULTRA through the transitive property of fringe history.
I guess I got a bit away from Brewer, who accepts Redfern’s “research” as factual. While Brewer’s standard of proof is much lower than mine, he is correct that “much too often ufology has served as a medium for like-minded individuals to support the subjective beliefs of one another.”
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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