Sunday, July 29, 2018

The 2009 Senator Reid AATIP letter revisited

Former Senator Reid advises how the program was funded

The New York Magazine dated 21 March 2018 published details of an interview between former Senator Harry Reid and reporter Eric Benson. Former Senator Reid told the following story about how the funding for the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) came about.

'I'm in Washington in the Senate and Bob Bigelow called me...and said "I got the strangest letter here. Could I have a courier bring it to you? I said, "Sure." ...The letter was from a federal national security agency...The letter said, "I am a senior, long-time member of the security agency, and have a PhD, "I can't remember in what, in Physics for sure, maybe math also." And the letter said, "I'm interested, I'm interested in talking with you, Mr Bigelow. I have an interest in what you've been working on. I want to go to your ranch in Utah."

"...I called Bigelow back and said, "Hey, I'll meet with the guy." I called the guy. He said, "I don't want to meet in my office. I don't want to meet at your office. Where can we meet?" I said, "Come to my home." The two of us met and I was terribly impressed with him. Very low key scientist. He told me of his interest. I called Bigelow and I said, "This guy, I've checked him out and he seems like a pretty nice guy and his credentials are as he says."

He went, met Bigelow, and after I don't know how much time went by, he came to me and said "Something should be done about this. Somebody should study it."

I was convinced he was right. I said, "Well if you were me, what would you say to people in power in the United States Senate who have huge control over the spending of defense money? And here's what he said "What I will do is prepare something for you that anyone can look at that that wants to, it's strictly science. He put it into scientific language - what the study should consist of.

"I at the time, was the leader of the Senate and I called two of my friends who for many, many years were like brothers...They controlled for quite a number of years the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. It was Stevens and Inouve.

"...what we decided to do - it would be black money, we wouldn't have a big debate on the Senate floor over it. They would put it in their Defense Appropriations Bill, 11 million bucks. The purpose of it was to study aerial phenomena. The money was given, a directive was given to the Pentagon, to put out this bid which they did."'

The AAWSAP

This then, is how the funding was obtained for the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program.

After extensive research, in April 2018, I located a digital copy of the August 2008 Defense Intelligence Agency solicitation which sought bids from private enterprise to undertake the AAWSAP work, and I then reported on the contractor who was the successful bidder.

The AAWSAP objectives - July 2008

I also, after reading a copy of one of Defense Intelligence Reference Documents, found that the first AAWSAP manager was one James T Lacatski, and posted the results of a search as to who he was.

Part of one of the DIRDs

The private industry contractor who won the bid to undertake part of the AAWSAP work, is known to be Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies LLC, as evidenced by their name on what appears to be a part of the DIA contract, which was shown on a KLAS-TV George Knapp and Matt Adams news report.

BAASS work on the AAWSAP is believed to have commenced by September 2008, as evidenced by BAASS advertising for personnel who's roles and jobs are compatible with that outlined in the DIA AAWSAP solicitation. How this ties in with Elizondo's statement that the AAWSAP commenced in 2007 is uncertain. It would appear logical that the AAWSAP program was up and running before BAASS received a contract to work on it.

From Nevada state records

The 2009 Reid letter

So, the AAWSAP work was well underway by 2009. How did it go?

KLAS-TV reporters George Knapp and Matt Adams, in a news report on 28 June 2018 revealed the existence of a 2009 dated letter, which Senator Reid sent to the Department of Defense about the program, which had by then been renamed the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP.) At this point, only part of the contents of the letter was revealed.

I therefore undertook a search for other avenues of obtaining a full copy of the letter, via an approach to the University of Nevada -Reno, which had acquired the entire series of the Senator's archives. However, I was advised by the University that the letter was under 10 years old, and that as part of the agreement for acquiring Senator Reid's archives they were not permitted to release paper material which was less than 10 years old.

Fortunately, in another KLAS-TV news report on 25 July 2018, reporters Knapp and Adams provide the entire letter for us all to read (with some small areas redacted.)

In the next segment of this blog, I will provide the entire text of the letter, together with some thoughts of mine, on its contents (in italics.)

The letter

The letter is dated June 24, 2009 and is addressed to 'Honorable William Lynn III, Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1010.'

The official military addresses of senior Defense officials are different, e.g.Secretary of Defense is 1000 Defense Pentagon; Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) is 3010 Defense Pentagon; and the Deputy Secretary of Defense is 1010 Defense Pentagon.

The letter goes on:

'Dear Secretary Lynn,

Beginning this past September, the US Senate has mandated that the Defense Intelligence Agency assesses far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats to the United States. The scope of program interest covers from the present out to forty years and beyond. In order to further our effort in recognizing emerging disruptive aerospace technology, technical studies are being conducted in regard to advanced lift, propulsion, the use of unconventional materials and controls, signature reduction, weaponry, human interface and human effects.'

1. 'Beginning this past September' agrees well with the August 2008 date of the DIA solicitation; the closing date of the solicitation being 5 September 2008; and the September 2008 BAASS call for new employees.

2. The details of the DIA mandate, ie advanced lift etc.,  agrees perfectly with the AAWSAP aims etc., as set out in the August 2008 DIA solicitation for bids.

'Since the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program  (AATIP) and study were first commissioned much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace related findings.'

Note the reference to AATIP and not AAWSAP. In a recent 'Coast to Coast' radio interview between George Knapp and former ATTIP program manager Luis Elizondo, Elizondo stated that the program changed its name from AAWSAP to AATIP in 2008. (Elizondo maintains that AAWSAP was running in 2007 through to 2008 before the name change.)

'Given the current rate of success, the continued study of these subjects will likely lead to technological advancements that, in the immediate near-term will require extraordinary protection. Due to the sensitivities of the information surrounding aspects of this program, I require your assistance in establishing a Restricted Special-Access-Program (SAP) with Bigoted Access List for specific portions of the AATIP.'

1. My understanding of a Special Access Program (SAP) is that only a limited number of individuals are given access to that SAP information. This restricts the access to, and distribution of, information about the SAP. 

2. My understanding of a Bigoted Access List is that it is a list of specified individuals who can access details about a program. No one else can access that program.

3. What precisely do the words 'I require your assistance in establishing a Restricted Special-Access-Program (SAP) with Bigoted Access List for specific portions of the AATIP.' mean? Do they mean:

(a) 'I require your assistance in establishing a Restricted Special-Access-Program (SAP),  with Bigoted Access List for specific portions of the AATIP.' (Note the position of my added comma.) meaning that the whole AATIP becomes a SAP with an access list for some portions? Or

(b) 'I require your assistance in establishing a Restricted Special-Access-Program (SAP) with Bigoted Access List, for specific portions of the AATIP.' (Note the different position of my added comma) meaning that only some portions of AATIP become a SAP with Bigoted Access List? 

'In order to support this national effort, a small but highly specialized cadre of Department of Defense (DoD) and private sector individuals are necessary. These individuals must be specialized in the areas of advanced sciences, sensors, intelligence/counterintelligence, and advanced aerospace engineering. Given the likelihood that these technologies will be applied to future systems, involving spaceflight, weapons, communications and propulsion, the standard management and safeguarding procedures for classified information are not sufficient. Even the use of conventional SAP protocols will not adequately ensure that all aspects of the project are properly secured.

Although not every aspect of AATIP requires restricted SAP read-on, the following portions should be  maintained at the Restricted SAP level.'

This seems to indicate my option (b) above applies, that only some portions of AATIP become a SAP with Bigoted Access List.

''The methodology used to identify, acquire, study and engineer the advanced technologies associated with AATIP.

'Specific methodologies used to study unconventional technology may require nuanced approaches that will undoubtedly be of significant interest if not a top priority for adversarial Foreign Intelligence Security Services (FISS).

Undue attention by government or private sector entities, not involved in AATIP or any international interest will directly or indirectly interfere with the daily AATIP mission and perhaps threaten the overall success of the program.'

This certainly fits in well with recent comments by the To The Stars Academy, about the  2015 East Coast battle group incidents and release of the 'Gimbal "video, plus the 'Go fast" video, where the To The Stars Academy says they cannot provide either specific dates or locations where the videos were taken, and suggests this is because the DoD hasn't given consent for these details to be revealed. 

'Allocation  of personnel, support and oversight.

Due to the highly specialized nature of the personnel involved with AATIP, the overt acknowledgement of their participation in the program will lead to an unnecessary security and counterintelligence risk.'

Why then did the publicly available DIA solicitation advise that one James T Lacatski was the AAWSAP manager if identifying personnel was an issue? Perhaps because the solicitation was pre this 2009 letter?

'Occasional assistance from specialized individuals within Dod, the scientific community, or academia may be necessary from time to time based on demonstrated subject matter expertise. Adequate protection of their identities and affiliation is critical to avoid unnecessary scrutiny.'

One wonders how much, the authors of the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference documents (DIRDs) were told, when they were tasked with preparing a DIRD? No DIRD authors' 'how to write a DIRD and why' have so far been located.

'Without the appropriate Restricted SAP protection, the cost associated with a compromise would be  significantly higher than the cost associated with a properly administered Restricted SAP.'

No financial figures were given to demonstrate the above statement was true,

'Protection of industry partners and participation is critical. Public awareness of an industry's AATIP affiliation may discourage that industry's further participation with the US Government in this program.'

The August 2008 solicitation was openly advertised on the Federal Business Opportunities website and BAASS openly advertised the relevant AAWSAP jobs. The fact that no one had yet (with the possible exception of George Knapp) located the public 'who got the contract' announcement, which should have been on the Federal Business Opportunities website, but isn't, may mean that the award announcement was never publicly made, contrary to the then current processes. All of this, of course, is prior to the Senator's 2009 call for a SAP.

'Applications and engineering

The nuanced manner in which some of these technologies will be collected, engineered and applied by the US may require senior level government approval. These decision makers must be afforded the necessary time to make strategic decisions by restricting access to the "big picture" or overall intent of the program to those on a strict Bigoted List.

The word 'nuanced' means 'characterized by subtle shades of meaning or expression.'

'Associated exotic technologies likely involve extremely sophisticated concepts within the worlds of quantum mechanics, nuclear science, electromagnetic theory, gravitics and thermodynamics. Given that all of these have the potential to be used for catastrophic effects by adversaries, an unusually high degree of operational security and read-on discretion is required.'

To me, none of the above paragraph makes sense in speaking of then 2009 foreign aircraft technology. It  makes better sense to me if Reid is thinking of 'off planet' objects. You will note that no where in the letter are the terms UFO or UAP ever used.

'Due to the expertise required to carry out the objectives of this program, we will require  a small, specialized group of Dod personnel, who are dedicated to performing the SAP-related functions and executing programmatic requirements within the program. It is essential that the Government & military personnel who are already involved with this program are assigned to further support this program in a Restricted SAP capacity (See Attachment 1). These individuals all currently possess the appropriate security clearances and are already providing unique support to AATIP.

Ultimately the results of AATIP will not only benefit the US Government but I believe will directly benefit Dod in ways not yet imagined. The technological insight and capability gained will provide the US with a distinct advantage over any foreign threats and allow the US to maintain its preeminence as a world leader.'

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this request. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact Bob Herbert of my staff at (202) 437-3162.'

'Attachment 1

Sponsoring agency: Undetermined (DEPSECDEF).
Component level SAP central office.
Unclassified nickname: Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).
Program length: FY09-FY13 (Preliminary).
Program funding: FY09- O&M, FY10-FY13- TBD.
SAP category designation: Intelligence, Dod Acquisition.
FY10 Preliminary Bigot List of Government personnel:
1. Honorable William Lynn III, Dep Dir of defense (Govt)
2. Honorable Senator Harry Reid of Nevada (Govt)
3. Honorable Senator Daniel Inouve of Hawaii (Govt)
4-11 Redacted.

FY10 Preliminary Bigoted List of Contractor Personnel funded under the AATIP
1-3 Redacted.

This document contains information exempt from mandatory disclosure under the FOIA. Exemptions 1 and 5 apply.'

Some individuals have suggested that the 13 listed names were people who received a carbon copy of the letter. This appears incorrect.

Overall impressions

1. In this 2009 letter, which is dated about nine months from the commencement of the AAWSA funded program (as opposed to anything informal which may have been running since 2007) Senator Reid is very positive about results, by stating 'Since the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program  (AATIP) and study were first commissioned much progress has been made with the identification of several highly sensitive, unconventional aerospace related findings.'

2. We of course, at the moment, have not documented evidence that the program became a Restricted Special Access Program. However, one might deduce for the reasons given at various places above, that the program did indeed gain SAP status.

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank KLAS-TV reporters George Knapp and Matt Adams for releasing the copy of the 2009 Senator Reid letter for us all to be able to analyze.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Another AATIP Defense Intelligence Reference Document author?

Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs)

In a blog post dated 2 June 2018, I wrote about a number of DIRDs which had been prepared for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under their Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications (AAWSA) program.

Various individuals, commissioned under an AAWSA sub-contract to the Institute of Advanced Studies, based in Austin, Texas, were asked to look into the future, in a variety of areas, and write a DIRD on their specialty.

One of the sub-contractors, Dr Eric Davis, in a radio interview on the 'Coast to Coast' show, on 28 January 2018, said that DIRD authors were asked to imagine our earthly technology; extrapolate it to 2050, then compare what we might have by then, against what we saw of the phenomenon in that era (around 2009.)

We currently know that 38 DIRDs were authored, with 36 of them being 'unclassified.' We also know the titles of six DIRDs which Dr Davis authored/co-authored; and one title by Dr Hal Puthoff.

Front cover of one of the DIRDs


Full copies of two of Davis's DIRDs, and one of Puthoff's are available on the Internet. A shorter version of Puthoff's DIRD appeared in an open source publication in 2010.

Another DIRD's front cover

Blog comment

On 18 July 2018, an anonymous comment was left on my blog which read:

'In the 28 January 2018 interview on 'Coast to Coast,' Davis says the following about the DIRDs: 'a colleague of ours, who was a former PhD student at (of - KB?) Werner Heisenberg, also did a paper on advanced nuclear propulsion...' This could be Friedwardt Winterberg. Here he is (http://www.icarusinterstellar.org/team) along with Eric Davis and Richard Obousy (who authored one of the DIRDs with Davis.'

Friedwardt Winterberg


Source: http://www.icarusinterstellar.org/team
Friedwardt Winterberg was born on 12 June 1929 in Berlin, Germany. He received his MSc in 1953, and his PhD in Physics in 1955 as a student of Werner Heisenberg. 'Operation paperclip' took him to the USA in 1959. 

His primary areas of research have been nuclear fusion and plasma physics.

He is an elected member of the Paris based International Academy of Astronautics,

His recent work has been on the 'Planck Aether hypothesis,' trying to explore both quantum mechanics and relativity.

DIRD

This all appears to indicate that Winterberg authored one of the 38 DIRDs, under a sub-contract to the AAWAS program, on the topic of advanced nuclear propulsion. It still however, leaves us short of knowing the title and contents of the DIRD.

Further research

The DIRDs of which we are aware, were all dated either 2010 or 2011. In addition, we know that Puthoff's 2010 DIRD was also published, in a shorter version, in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society in 2010.

I therefore wondered, what papers Winterberg had published in open source in 2010/2011; which fit the Davis description of being in the area of 'advanced nuclear propulsion'? I therefore searched a list of Winterberg's published works.

I found three such papers:

1. 'Deuterium Microbomb Rocket Propulsion.' 2010. 'Acta Astronautica' 66 (1-2), 40-44.

2. 'Matter - Antimatter GeV Gamma Ray Laser Rocket Propulsion.' 2010. No publication details given.

3. 'Negative Mass Propulsion.' 2011. 'Journal of the British Interplanetary Society' 64, 3-16. Part of the abstract of this paper reads: 'But their use for propulsion by reducing the inertia of matter for example in the limit of macroscopic bodies with zero rest mass.'

Any one of the above could have been made the subject of a DIRD, but note the last six words 'macroscopic bodies with zero rest mass.' These words will take significance later on in this blog.

CUFOS conference

In 1976, the Chicago based Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) held a UFO conference between 30 April and 2 May of that year. Subsequently, a 'Proceedings of the 1976 CUFOS Conference' were published.



One of the papers presented, was titled, 'The Physical Possibility of Macroscopic Bodies Approaching Zero Rest Mass and the UFO Problem.'



 The paper's abstract read:

' UFO reports by highly reliable witnesses have in common the observation of solid physical objects (1) with no or almost no inertial mass; (2) surrounded by an intense corona-like discharge; (3) possessing strong magnetic fields; (4) producing no sonic booms at the high velocities reported. These characteristics suggest a state of matter approaching zero rest mass. If such a state exists, then interstellar distances could be traversed in an arbitrarily small proper time and with vanishingly small amount of energy.

Matter incorporating magnetic monopoles may lead to just such a material state. Since monopole fields fall off much more slowly than dipole fields, this could explain the magnetic effects reportedly associated with UFOs. The induced electric field resulting from the rapid motion of the monopole field could explain the glow observed around the UFOs as a coronal discharge. The strong magnetic field could also explain the absence of any sonic boom.'

An appendix to the Proceedings' papers provides the following information about the author of this 1976 CUFOS Conference paper.

'...received a PhD in theoretical Physics in 1956 under Prof Heisenberg of the Max Planck Institute. He is the author of about 80 scientific publications in the field of nuclear fusion. His most important work relates to his original proposal for igniting thermonuclear microexplosions by means of intense charged particle beams. This work is presently receiving world wide study.'

Who was the author of this 1976 UFO article? It was in fact, Dr Friedwardt Winterberg.

A search for further UFO research by Winterberg

Although I found mention of Winterberg's work in two UFO books (Hill, P.R. 'Unconventional Flying Objects;' and Potter, P.E. 'Gravitational Manipulation of Domed Craft') these references were to his nuclear work. I found no other papers by Winterberg on the subject of UFOs. I did however, find one 1978 Winterberg article titled 'Electrostatic Theory of Ball Lightning."

Email

In order to ascertain if my anonymous commentator's deduction was correct; and that Dr Winterberg was indeed another DIRD author, I located an email address for the now aged 90 year old Winterberg; who is still listed under the Physics Department of the University of Nevada, Reno, and posed the question of authorship to him.  I have not, as yet, received a response.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

That classic 1957 Mt Stromlo observatory sighting - explained?

Astronomers and UAP

Those who haven't bothered to conduct any research, often state that astronomers never report seeing UAP. One of the sightings which is used to counter such arguments is from November 1957; by astronomers at the Mt Stromlo observatory, near Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

UAP periodicals as sources for the account

The APRO Bulletin, January 1958, page 3 carried the following:

'Canberra, Australia, 9 November. Four astronomers of the Commonwealth Observatory, Mount Stromlo, observed a bright pink object in the sky at about 3am. The object was observed for about 8 minutes as it moved across the western horizon, then disappeared. No aircraft in the sky at the time. Astronomers could not identity the object. Sputniks, meteors and the like were ruled out as possible explanations by the astronomers themselves.'



My comments:

1. The Bulletin cites no source for their information, and places the date of the sighting as 9 November, presumably 1957.
2. The time of observation is stated to have been about 3am. 

Flying Saucer Review, January/February 1958, page 3:

'Astronomers see pink UFO

The London Times , of November 7 reported that...hundreds of people at Bathurst, near Sydney, Australia...saw a metallic object over the town...on the previous day...However, on the same day, four astronomers at the Commonwealth Observatory, at Mt Stromlo, near Canberra, Australia on "sputnik watch" reported a strange object moving across the sky which was neither a meteorite nor one of the Soviet space satellites. The object was a vivid pink and unlike anything seen before, it was stated. It remained in view for about two minutes and disappeared under the Moon. "The strange thing is that it should disappear after passing under the Moon as it was a perfectly cloudless sky," said Dr Przybylski, who saw the object just after having completed observations of the passage of the two Russian satellites.'



My comments:

1. The date of the Mt Stromlo sighting as deduced from the above article is 6 November, presumably 1957.
2. The correct spelling of the main observer's name appears to be Przybylski. 

UFO researchers as sources

A number of books by UAP authors have mentioned this sighting; with one of the earliest being Jacques and Janine Vallee's 'Challenge to Science' (1966. Henry Regnery. Chicago. Page 19.

'The case of the Australian professors.

On November 8, 1957, the wire services (Reuters, AFP) - which are here the only available sources - carried information pertaining to an observation made by three astronomers in Mount Stromlo Observatory, of an object brighter than Venus, which crossed the western part of the sky at 5.02pm on November 7.

Dr Przybylsky (sic) saw the object, which was bright red in color, moving slowly, and remained in view for about two minutes. Its velocity was too small for it to be a meteorite, and the two Soviet satellites had already made their passage. The object in question was also seen by two colleagues of  Dr Przybylsky. No scientist at the observatory had previously observed such an object.

The press release added that Professor Przyblsky was impatiently awaiting word from other observatories that might have observed the same object. An exceptionally detailed series of observations were made the next day by French astronomers; these were never brought to the attention of scientists.'

My comments:

1. The date of the sighting, here is given as 7 November 1957.
2. The time is given as 5.02pm. However, note that 5.02pm 7 November French time is 3.02am on 8 November at Mt Stromlo (Canberra being UTC + 10 hours.)

Newspapers as sources for the account

I went searching for newspaper accounts of the sighting, and firstly, in the Dr Michael Swords' digital collection found the following; apparently from an unattributed New Zealand newspaper with a hand written note "NZ 1957."



"Australian scientists puzzled.

11.30   Canberra, Nov 8.

Scientists at the Commonwealth Observatory at Mt Stromlo are puzzled by a sighting there soon after 3am today of a strange object moving across the sky that was neither a meteorite nor one of the Soviet planets.

The object was seen by Dr Przyblski (sic) who had just completed observation of the passage of the two Russian satellites. It was sighted long after the observations on the eclipse of the moon had been completed.

Dr Przyblski who went to bed after sighting the strange object reported it this afternoon.

He described it as a vivid pink object which moved slowly across the sky, and which was visible to the naked eye for about two minutes. 

It appeared in the southern sky just above the horizon at 3.03am, moved in a westerly direction, passed the Moon and finally disappeared.

Its speed was far too slow for it to have been a meteorite, and it was not one of the satellites which had already passed.

Dr Przyblski said that the object, which was seen also by two colleagues, was completely unlike any object which the Stromlo scientists had so far observed.

There is speculation that the object might have been some new Russian space vessel, but there is still an element of complete uncertainty about its character."

My comments:

1. The item is datelined 11.30 Nov 8 and states that the sighting was "today." Thus placing the date of the sighting as 8 November (1957). 
2. Time is given as 3.03am.

Also in the Dr Michael Swords' electronic collection I found another newspaper account, from of all places Malaya. It was from the Penang 'Straits Echo and Times of Malaya' dated 12 November 1957 and datelined "Canberra Nov. 11."



'Mystery object still unexplained.

The object seen in the north western sky near Canberra on Friday morning by four astronomers from the Mt Stromlo Observatory is still unexplained.

The Director of the Observatory, Dr B J Bok, said today that following the sighting of the object, which was seen a few minutes after 3am and which was much brighter than either of the Soviet satellites, scores of reports from the eastern states had been received from people who claimed to have seen lights in the sky similar to that observed at Canberra. None of the reports however, could be linked with the Canberra observation and many who made them had undoubtedly seen the lights of high flying aircraft.

Dr Bok said that whatever the nature of the object seen at Mt Stromlo, it seemed certain that it was far too bright to have been the capsule containing the space dog of Sputnik II which some scientists think has been ejected from the satellite and has been orbiting with it instead of returning as planned to earth...Reuters.'

My comments:

1. Note that Dr Bok states that none of the scores of reports could be linked to the Canberra observation.
2. The sighting date as deduced from the above, is Friday 8 November, and the time as around 3am. As this article is based on a Reuters release it may, perhaps, be regarded as the most accurate so far.

The Canberra Times

I thought that the most logical place to look for a newspaper account would be from Canberra itself. Fortunately, while most digitised newspapers in the TROVE collection of the National Library of Australia end in 1954, The Canberra Times goes through to 1995. I therefore retrieved the following from TROVE.

The Canberra Times dated Saturday 9 November 1957 carried a front page story of the sighting.

'Scientists see strange object over Canberra.

Speculation as to whether the Russians have launched a new space weapon increased yesterday when scientists at the Commonwealth Observatory Mount Stromlo observed a strange object in the sky over Canberra early yesterday morning.

The object was seen by the scientists after they had watched the eclipse of the Moon and had tracked the course of the Rusian satellites, Sputnik and Sputnik II.

Checks with civil aviation and the RAAF have shown that no aircraft were in the vicinity at the time, and the observers are so puzzled they would like to contact anyone else who saw the object.

The object first came into sight just above the horizon shortly after 3am yesterday.

One of the astronomers Dr A Przybyleski (sic) said the object, which was vivid pink and completely unlike anything ever sighted by scientists passed across the sky in a westerly direction under the Moon and disappeared.

He said he saw the object for about two minutes with the naked eye and after it passed out of his sight other astronomers picked it up in their line of vision.

Dr Przybyleski said he and the other scientists, having tracked the path of the two Sputniks were amazed when the new object came into sight.

It bore no relation to either of the satellites, but a further watch would be made in case it was some sort of satellite circling the globe.

"What we saw certainly was not a meteor, as they can be seen for only a few seconds, but it could be a special rocket which will not reappear," he said.

One puzzling aspect of the object was that it travelled towards the Moon, passed under it and disappeared, although it was a perfectly cloudless sky at the time.

Dr Przybyleski said he was surprised there had been no reference to the object in reports from overseas.'

My comments:

1. The date of sighting is clearly Friday 8 November 1957 and time shortly after 3am.
2. Interestingly, no one overseas had reported a similar object. The reference to overseas reports is presumably if it were an Earth orbiting object then it should have been visible from parts other than  Canberra. 
3. Although there is reference to Mt Stromlo Observatory intending to keep a watch for it again, there is no mention I have seen that it was ever observed from Mt Stromlo again.

Searches for accounts in other places

I wondered if the sighting had been reported to the RAAF who were the official body of the Australian government tasked with looking at such sightings. An inspection of various UAP files in the National Archives of Australia, failed to locate any documents about this sighting.

An additional note from Dr Michael Swords' electronic collection, is that he has an uncited item which states that 'Astronomer A R Hogg saw a UFO with 3 colleagues at Mt Stromlo.' No other source cites the names of any of Dr P's colleagues who observed the object.

Can we explain the sighting in conventional terms?

What could be the stimulus for the sighting at 3.03am in the morning, cloudless sky, of a vivid pink object, seen for between two an eight minutes, tracking from one horizon (southern?) to the north west and then disappearing? 

It wasn't one of the two Soviet satellites; and seemed not to be a rocket, or debris from those satellites. It wasn't a meteor as the duration it too long. There is no tail or trail described. It is referred to as "an object" but actually appears to have simply been a bright light. Its astronomical magnitude is not stated; nor is any angular size given. The Vallee reference states it was brighter than Venus.

What was in the sky at that time? A check using the Stellarium software program shows that the Moon was at 22 degrees elevation at azimuth 310 degrees (north west as mentioned in some reports.) There were no bright planets above the horizon. Sunrise was at 4.55 am. There was a total Lunar eclipse on the evening of 7 November 1957. 

What was the weather like at the time? November is Springtime for Australia. A check of The Canberra Times dated Saturday 9 November 1957 provided the weather details for Friday 8 Novermber 1957. At 9am the wind was from the south west at 2 miles per hour.

So do I have any thoughts as to what was seen? Actually, I do. Given that:

(1) there were no other sightings of a vivid pink object traversing the sky from other observatories who were out watching the Sputniks;

(2) there were no other reports from around Canberra that matched the Mt Stromlo sighting;

(3) the wind (albeit six hours later) was from the south west at 2 miles per hour, ie almost still; 

(4) the observation time was between two and eight minutes;

(5) the observatory, despite stating they were to keep a watch for the object didn't report seeing it again;

(6) it simply disappeared from view in a dark, cloudless sky below 22 degrees elevation in the north western sky. 

I would propose that the sighting might have been of a fire balloon.

If this was a modern sighting these factors would certainly make me suggest this as a likely explanation. During my research into Australian sightings pre 24 June 1947 I came across examples of such fire balloons being launched, from as early as 1920. Perhaps some local decided to prank the scientists at the Observatory knowing they were watching for things in the sky? 

Of course, we will never know for sure just what the stimulus for this sighting was, but the above is my best guess.

Update: 19 July 2018

The Vallee reference in part stated:  'An exceptionally detailed series of observations were made the next day by French astronomers; these were never brought to the attention of scientists.'

Today, while browsing electronic copies of old Australian UAP publications I came across the following reference.

'A young astronomer at the National Observatory at Toulouse on Friday night, November 8th sighted in the sky a mysterious, elliptical, brilliant, canary-yellow coloured object.

The astronomer M Chapuis, followed it for five minutes with a small telescope when it appeared west-north-west of Toulouse. He said it sped west, made two sweeping turns, then sped in the opposite direction. It disappeared for 30 seconds, descended almost vertically in a clear sky, and vanished again in shadow.'

['Australian UFO Bulletin,' Vol 1 No 3, December 1957, page 5.] 

Monday, July 16, 2018

New Roswell documents

Introduction

From time to time, documentation turns up "out of the blue," which assists us with aspects of the subject. Although we may have known or suspected the existence of such documents, when they turn up in this manner, it is very much unexpected.  Three recent examples come to mind.

Project Blue Book documentation

In late 2013, UFO researcher Rob Mercer, who lives in Springfield, Ohio, came across an advert offering Project Blue Book documents. It turned out that a former USAF officer, assigned to Project Blue Book, named Lt Carmon Marano, had kept some material. Mercer eventually located Marano and then spoke to him. Ultimately, Mercer was able to obtain boxes of files; photographs; films and documents. Some of this was the original material, some copies. Mercer has now made scans of this material available.

Roswell

In July 2018, an announcement was made that the family of the late Major Jesse Marcel, of Roswell fame, had gathered together "...historical documents, military records, photos and a personal journal" of the former Intelligence Officer. This material is now being processed before being publicly revealed. Whether or not it will provide some corroboration of details already know is yet to be determined. However, without the family's efforts this new material would not have become available for UFO researchers.

UK government files

Over several years, the UK government has released thousands of pages of documents relating to the British government's investigation into UFOs in that country. However, though the efforts of US researcher, and Rendlesham Forest 1980 incident witness, John Burroughs, more was revealed.

In 2015, the Openminds website stated:

"Burroughs has submitted several Freedom of Information Act Requests in the UK and US. He has already been able to get the UK government to admit that they have more UFO files to release, even though they had previously claimed to have released all of the UFO files."

This ultimately led to the release of 15 such files in 2017. These 2017 files contained for example, information on the UFO interests of the Italian Department of Defence; a 1982 observation from a USAF spy flight; UK Defence Intelligence thinking; and more on the 1990 UK Tornado jet incident.

In 2018, three more such files emerged and these are currently under study by UFO researchers. To take a look at Dr David Clarke's analysis of these three files, click here.

What of Australian documents?

In 2015, I wrote a blog post about UAP sightings in Papua New Guinea, which had been an administered external territory of Australia between 1949 and 1975. The post advised that I had found UAP sightings on a number of files which belonged to the Department of the Army; the Department of Civil Aviation; the CSIRO; and the RAAF. The contents of some of the documents on these files were previously unknown. 

Also in 2015, research by Dr Stuart Hatch revealed the, until then, unknown existence of a file belonging to the Western Australian police force, detailing many UAP sightings that were either reported to them or via the RAAF. This turned out to by only a partial copy of the file. Further research by myself, located the full version of the file, which I discussed in this post. 

Little known sets of documents

Moving on now, to sets of documents which have been around for decades, but which, today, are little known.

Richard C Doty

US UFO researcher Larry Bryant submitted an FOIA request to the Office of the Secretary, USAF, in late 1987/early 1988 for copies of Richard C Doty's USAF service records. In October 1988, Bryant received some records. At around the same time Bryant also obtained further Doty service records, again under the FOIA, from the 1606th Air Base Wing. A limited number of people ever saw these records.


In mid 2018, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean acquired a copy of these 25 pages of Doty's USAF service records, and on 13 June 2018 published a blog post about them , which provided images of all 25 pages.

Jesse A Marcel

I reported above, that members of the Marcel family have recently brought together family held records relating to Jesse A Marcel. These include some of his military records.

However, what it little known, is that way back in the 1990's,  the late US researcher Robert Todd acquired some 200 pages of Marcel's service records. In the 8 December 1995 (Vol 1 No 3) issue of "The KowPflop Quarterly" he described the contents of the records, and compared and contrasted them to the facts about Marcel, presented elsewhere in the UFO literature. On 20 December 1996 in "The Spot Report" (Issue 6 of the Cowflop series) Todd described the process by which he obtained the records.


Other sources have discussed the contents of Marcel's military records, with acknowledgement of Todd's work. 

Australian examples

Disclosure Australia, a project which ran between 2003 and 2008, was aimed at examining UAP files originating by a number of Australian government agencies; using both the Archive Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The project's Newsletter Archive reveals numerous examples of material which was long lost to civilian researchers.

Later work by this author, located such fascinating documents as a file full of material between 1974 and 1996 originating with the Defense Science Technology Organisation. I documented the contents of this previously unknown file here, here, and here.

In summary

You just never know when documents from the past, will reemerge. 

Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) and Vallee's "Capella" Project

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