Thursday, November 25, 2021

A DIA FOIA AATIP/AAWSAP response - nearly four years on

Searching for information

One of the earliest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), of which I am aware, was submitted by Melbourne researcher Paul Dean. After seeing the initial announcement of the establishment of To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science in October 2017, Paul submitted an FOIA request to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the USA on 15 October 2017, even though he did not know the exact name of the program. The request was assigned the number 18-F-0082 and read as follows:

"I am requesting documents which would include mission statements, program overviews, fact sheets, program briefs etc. relating to the so called Unidentified Aerial Threats for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The name of this program (Unidentified Aerial Threats) may not be the EXACT title. However, to aid you, the manager or director of the program was a Luis Elizondo. He also served as the Director for the National Programs Special Management Staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. What I am essentially looking for are documents which would describe the program findings and goals, any high level and general correspondence with interested parties, fact sheets and summaries of the program history, and any other records that describe what the program has achieved, what resources it used, etc."

The four year's later response

On 24 November 2021 Paul received an email attachment from the FOIA Division, Pentagon, Department of Defense. With Paul's consent I provide an image of the attached letter. Note his address shown here is an old one. 



"This is a final response to your October, 15, 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a copy of which is enclosed for your convenience. We received your request on October 16, 2017, and assigned it FOIA case number 18-F-0082...Please note that your request for information pertaining to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was misdirected to this office for processing. This FOIA office only processes requests for the office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. There is no central FOIA processing point for the entire Department of Defense (DoD). FOIA processing is decentralized and delegated to those officials of the Military Department and various DoD Components who generate and/or maintain the records being sought or reviewed. In this instance, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) which operates its own FOIA program, would have cognizance over the information you have requested. In consideration of this fact, we have forwarded your request to DIA for their direct response to you. For your convenience, contact information for DIA FOIA.....This action closes your request with this office....."

Enter the DIA

Also the same day, Paul got another email; this time from the DIA, which read:

"This email is to inform you that we received a consultation from OSD in regards to an FOIA request you had submitted to the agency. As a result they found there were no equities within their agency and referred your request to the Defense Intelligence Agency. This request, was also submitted by you on March 28, 2018 to our agency. For this reason, the consultation referral was not opened and no further action regarding that consultation will be taken, as it is a duplicate. Please note, your current request with DIA is FOIA 022-2018....This case is currently being tasked out to other elements within the agency and are currently being processed. We will make every effort to process your request as soon as possible and solicit your patience and understanding. However, please keep in mind we are backlogged with over 1,900 FOIA cases and work on the cases based on date they are received and complexity of each case."

In short, please wait a little while longer

So, nearly four years on, and Paul's 28 March 2018 separate request directed to the DIA is still being processed. 

The DIA FOIA request log

The DIA maintains an FOIA request log for each year, the latest available being 2018. An inspection of the 2018 log shows Paul's DIA request. This time asking for documents about the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP) as by then he was aware of the difference between AATIP and AAWSAP.

I welcome hearing from anyone who has had a positive response from their 2017/2018 DIA FOIA request for AATIP/AAWSAP documents. My own such requests still await a final response. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG)

Background

On 25 June 2021 the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks issued a memorandum, which in part, directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security "...to develop a plan to formalize the mission currently performed by the UAPTF."  (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.)  Dated 23 November 2021 is a U.S. Department of Defense media release, which provides details of the new UAP entity. Here is the full text of this release.

Media release

"DoD Announces the Establishment of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG.)

Today, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, in close collaboration with the Director of National Intelligence directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to establish within the Office of the USD(I&S) the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG) as the successor to the U.S. Navy's Unidentified Aerial phenomena Task Force. 

The AOIMSG will synchronize efforts across the Department and the broader U.S. government to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace (SUA), and to assess and mitigate any associated threats of flight and national security. 

To provide oversight of the AOIMSG, the Deputy Secretary also directed the  USD(I&S) to lead an Airborne Object Identification and Management Executive Council  (AOIMEXEC) to be comprised of DoD and Intelligence Community membership, and to offer a venue for U.S. government interagency representation.

Incursions of any airborne object into our SUA pose safety of flight and operations security concerns, and may pose national security challenges. DoD takes reports of incursions - by any airborne object, identified or unidentified - very seriously and investigates each one. This decision is the result of planning efforts and collaboration conducted by OUSD(I&S) and other DoD elements at the direction of Deputy Secretary Hicks, to address the challenges associated with assessing UAP occurring on or near DoD training ranges and installations highlighted in the DNI preliminary assessment report  submitted to Congress in June 2021. The report also identified the need to make improvements in processes, policies, technologies and training to improve our ability to understand UAP.

In coming weeks the Department will issue implementing guidance, which will contain further details on the AOIMSG Director, organizational structure, authorities and resourcing."

The directive

I reproduce images of the two page direction dated 23 November 2021.




The full text of the directive reads:

"The presence of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in Special Use Airspace (SUA), designated in accordance with 14CFR Part 73, represents a potential safety of flight risk to aircrews and raise potential national security concerns. Accordingly, I direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD(I&S) to establish the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group ((AOIMSG) to synchronize efforts across the Department and with other Federal departments and agencies to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in SUA, and to asses, and as appropriate, mitigate any associated threats to safety and national security . To provide oversight and direction of the AOIMSG, I establish the Airborne Object Identification and Management Executive Council (AOIMEXEC). The USD(I&S) will be the lead DoD official responsible for this process, will co-chair the AOIMEXEC along with the Director of Operations, Joint Staff, and will invite Principal-level participation from the Office of the Director of National intelligence. Resourcing for this requirement will be addressed in the Program Budget Review process.

The Director, AOIMSG (hereafter referred to as "the Director" ) will synchronize the activities among the Office of the Secretary of defense (OSD) and DoD components, and with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, to minimize safety of flight and national security concerns associated with UAP or other airborne objects in SUA. The Director, with support from the OSD and DoD components heads, will address this problem by standardizing UAP incident reporting across the Department; identifying and reducing gaps in operational and intelligence detection capabilities; collecting and analyzing operational, intelligence and counterintelligence data; recommending policy, regulatory or statutory changes, as appropriate; identifying approaches to prevent or mitigate any risks posed by airborne objects of interest; and other activities as deemed necessary by the Director. Additionally the Director, in coordination with the OSD and DoD Component heads, will identify requirements and recommend changes in doctrine, organization, training , materiel, leadership, personnel, workforce, facilities and resources to be brought to the AOIMEXEC for review, consideration and implementation , as appropriate, by the applicable DoD Component Head.

Effective immediately, the AOIMEXEC, in coordination  with the OSD and DoD component heads will manage the transition of the current UAP Task Force to the AOIMSG. The AOIMEXEC will designate an acting Director of the AOIMSG, and will submit implementation  guidance for my approval. This guidance will specify organizational membership, roles, responsibilities and authorities for the AOIMSG, AOIMEXEC, and OSD and DoD Components."

Monday, November 22, 2021

Maralinga, South Australia, atomic tests - and UAP

 Introduction

Given all the current discussions about the connection between UAP and nuclear testing/nuclear missile sites etc. I thought that I would take a look at any sightings from Maralinga, South Australia, the site of British atomic bomb tests, in the period 1956-1963. Maralinga is 845 kilometres north-west of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and 54 kilometres north-west of Ooldea, South Australia. 

I found details of three UAP sightings from Maralinga, one in each of 1956, 1957 and 1960. I will provide details of these below. I welcome any additional cases which blog readers might know.

1 June 1956

The following is the testimony of one Harry Woolfall. "I was a leading hand trucks driver at Airstrip, (a Maralinga outpost). We were taking boxes of cameras to Rockwell where the scientists were making ready for the explosion. That night we were on our way to Watson railway siding to pick up more boxes. 

It was 9.40pm on June 1, 1956. We were working around the clock. Then I saw this very bright object, very long and a bit like a rocket, travelling from west to east, with lights like windows along the side. We stopped on top of sandhills and I got out to see if I could hear anything. Well, I couldn't but the thing appeared to be above Watson about 6 kilometres away.

Nothing fast about the way it travelled. It really moved quite slowly actually until it went below our horizon. Fellows in the trucks behind us stopped to watch it too. Chips one of my mates saw it at Watson and a bulldozer further down the track saw it too. We talked about it, but we were flat out and didn't think much of it at the time."

[Source: "Sunday Mail" newspaper, Adelaide, South Australia. 27 September 1987. Woolfall contacted the newspaper after seeing an item about the 1957 sighting.]

October/November 1957

"Consider for example, this account from a former RAF Corporal stationed at Maralinga - site of the British nuclear tests in Australia - during September and October 1957. The incident was absent from the official RAAF files. 

During September and October 1957 the nuclear weapons' test series codenamed ANTLER were undertaken at Maralinga with kiloton range nuclear explosions occurring on September 25 and October 9.

The site was subjected to intense scrutiny, however, during October and November 1957, when the integrity of the facility was challenge in an extraordinary fashion. Just before dusk one evening the RAF Corporal and some colleagues were called out of the Maralinga village canteen to witness a UFO hovering, apparently silently over the airfield. It was described as a "magnificent sight" being silver-blue in colour, a metallic luster, with a line of "windows" or "portholes" along its edge. The Corporal stated the object could be seen so clearly that he and his companions could make out what appeared to be plating on its surface.

The air traffic control officer on duty also supposedly witnessed the spectacle. He allegedly checked Alice Springs and Edinburgh airfields which reported they did not have anything over their areas. No photo's were taken purportedly because the top secret status of the area required that all cameras be locked away. These had to be signed in and out when used.

After about 15 minutes the aerial object left swiftly, and silently, as dusk began to fall. The witness told Jenny Randles, "I swear to you as a practicing Christian this was no dream, no illusion, no fairy story - but a solid craft of metallic construction."

[Chalker, W. "The NW Cape Incident." International UFO Reporter, January/February 1986, pp 9-12.]

15 July 1960



At 1900 hours a Constable Maxwell was at Roadside, located 13 miles from the Maralinga village, when he reported seeing a light in the sky, in the direction of Wewak. It appeared the brightness of bright moonlight, and playing on the ground. 

At 1905 hours at a location named Wewak, 15 miles from Maralinga village, a Constable Scarborough, saw a white light in the sky, travelling from east to west. It grew large in apparent size and turned red. Estimated duration of sighting was 30 seconds. It did not illuminate the area around him.

Four people in Maralinga village itself also reported the light, in the direction of Wewak. Estimated durations ranged from 2-15 seconds. The light was not associated with a rocket firing from Woomera.

O. Harry Turner, a nuclear physicist, who had a long term interest in the topic, since 1954 or before, who was a health safety officer at the test site, conducted his own investigations and concluded that it was a UFO.

[National Archives of Australia file series A6456, control symbol R029/284. "Maralinga Project - General - Policy and administration." pp74 and 76.]

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Rice university archives important UAP papers

 Archives 

Thanks to a lead from Twitter user @JackFrostvc I came across the fact that Rice University, in Houston, Texas, houses an unusual set of UAP related archives - "The Archives of the Impossible." Professor of Religious Studies, Jeffrey Kripal is the driving force behind the collection. 

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

The Woodson Research Center at Rice University houses a collection of material, which includes the following:

Richard F. Haines Ufology papers

"The Richard F. Haines Ufology papers (Collection MS706) includes documents that cover the period between the 1970's and 2010's. It includes personal and professional correspondence, administrative documents of NARCAP and drafts of its research papers, Haines' own drafts and projects for conference presentations. It also contains a large set of UFO photos with notes and photo analyses, as well as audio tapes with interviews of UFO witnesses. The audio cassettes have been digitized and once complete will be filed on the Woodson Research Center nearline service and accessible by request. The recordings will also be transcribed."

The material is open for research - 17 linear feet. There is also an inventory of the material

Jacques Vallee UFO and paranormal phenomena papers

(Collection MS672). "Background files include relevant topics, social trends, cults, related phenomena, scientific topics relevant to ufology assembled by Vallee in support of his research over the years. Also contains field notes and press documents about related topics such as cattle mutilations, and face-to-face meetings of NIDS and BAASS as well as various research proposals.

Correspondence includes letters exchanged with Aime Michel, Dr. Hynek, Dr. Guerin and many leading researchers and investigators starting in the late 1950's to the mid 2010's.

Analysis files are planned for donation in the future and will include research studies, often field investigations, documents research about specific UFO topics."

Not available for access until 24 January 2028, except for specific academic exceptions. - 38 linear feet. There is a container inventory available.  This inventory is well worth a look through. 

Anne and Whitley Strieber Collection (MS702).

"Contains correspondence, transcripts relating to The Communion and correspondence and reviews of Strieber's other works."

9 liner feet - "The material is being made available for non-profit education use."

There is a container inventory.

Larry W. Bryant UFO research collection (MS915.)

"The Larry W. Bryant UFO research collection contains personal papers such as correspondence, photographs, and articles written by Larry Bryant, as well as papers from his participation in UFO organizations like MUFON and CAUS, includes board meeting minutes, budget notes and quarterly reports. A large section of the collection is devoted to Bryant's research into ufology using court cases against the government and Freedom of Information Act."

96 linear feet. "Once processed the collection will be open for research."

A container inventory is not yet available. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Frederick Portigal

I am back from my self-imposed break from the subject. A four week long "fishing" trip. Now back to it. Firstly, I have updated my blog posts titled "The Australian Department of Defence and UAP - the latest." The update includes a full Hansard transcript of the relevant discussion; and the reason why Australian Senator Whish_Wilson asked the questions he did. Secondly, occasionally on social media, someone surfaces, who has seemingly impeccable credentials, but with a fantastic account.

Enter Frederick Portigal

Recently, one Frederick Portigal surfaced. In a series of tweets dated 25 October 2021 Portigal wrote the following:

"In my last position before retiring I worked for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirkland AFB as a senior Research Physical Scientist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (LinkedIn says April 2011-present -KB).

Air Force research laboratory

Space Vehicles Directorate

Battlespace Environment Division

Battlespaces Surveillance Information Center

Spectral Surveillance technologies Section.

My primary research was to support the Hypertemporal Imager (HTI) space experiment. I invented a Hypertemporal  video detection algorithm for tracking from space through sunlit cloud to the ground that has 10 times the s/n as the algorithm used in the space experiment.

I designed and carried out the developing of the Hypertemporal Imaging Spectrometer (HTIS) to support the HTI space experiment and other fascinating surveillance activity

The instrument was composed of two 10 inch telescopes one for the two high speed video cameras (VIS & SWIR) and the other for the two imaging spectrometers (VIS & SWIR.) Basically hypertemporal and spectral binoculars that cost $750,000.

After I retired the instrument went to NASIC and WPAFB for testing.

The actual name for the HTIS were the "Alien Hunting Binoculars" designed based on my analysis of telescope video of Alien Space vehicles in the atmosphere.

My agency AFRL/RVBYI new about this but kept it quiet because the DIA and NASIC were interested in the project.

Officially the instrument was the hyper-Temporal Imaging Spectrometer (HTIS) and not the Alien Hunting Binoculars (AHB.)"

LinkedIn

Partigal has an extensive LinekdIn page which provides detail about his professional career.

Here he says:

"I am an expert in the analysis of hyperspectral  imagery to solve environmental, geologic, medical and military intelligence problems in the UV, VNIR, SWIR and Long Wave."

Hyperspectral imagery

"The goal of hyperspectral imagery is to obtain the spectrum for each pixel in the image of a scene."

What does Portigal say re UAP?

He has presented two papers and associated video's, so far via Twitter; plus a number of other videos and photographs. As the two papers are quite detailed, I provide their abstracts and conclusions below:

1. 1 August 2008 titled ""Star-like object in High Atmosphere Expelling a Plasma Stream."

The paper's abstract reads:

"On August 1st, 2007 in, Albuquerque New Mexico, a star like object was observed in the western sky, 22:30 MST. The object would have been easily mistaken as a star except for the unusual spectral content and high frequency fluctuation atypical of stars. The object was first noticed by eye and confirmed through binoculars as being unusual. A series of photographs were taken showing the object moving in synchronicity with the stars leading one to believe that it was simply another bright but unusual star. Inspection of the Stellarium sky chart confirmed that there were no stars in this position that could account for the observed brightness. On inspection of these photographs a single image caught the “star” ejecting a stream of plasma as bright and wide as the object itself. This spherical object was causing ionization of the atmosphere and was of similar magnitude to that of Procyon. This warranted further telescope video investigation. After extensive processing, the telescope video revealed what appears to be a plasma-like sphere spawning off disks and other classic shapes from UFO mythology." 

Portigal concluded:

"Processing the video data revealed complex structures within the “star” with a variety of disk shapes seemingly to be spawned off the primary structures at very high frequency. The video reveals that there are at least two large craft that are illuminated as the ionization plasma fluctuates. The size of the plasma field can be estimated if one assumes that it is located in the ionosphere at about 300 km. The telescope FOV is 1 degree and the plasma is about 15 pixels in diameter making it about 800 feet in diameter. The star appears to function as a space station; disks and other classic shapes from UFO mythology are spawned off the large stationary craft at a rate greater than the 30 Hz video can temporally resolve. The plasma ejection observed in the photographs is most likely caused by one of these space vehicles leaving pulling the plasma in its wake."

The processed video itself may be viewed here. 

2. 21 May 2009. "Near Surface Plasma-Like Phenomenon Travelling at 48,000 Kilometers Per Hour."

The paper's abstract read:

"Telescope video data from January 29th, 2008 recorded extraordinary phenomena of plasma-like objects travelling at speeds that defy the imagination in the vicinity of Petroglyph National monument in Albuquerque New Mexico...Twin spherical plasmas remain stationary as giant spherical plasma passes by at an estimated speed of 48,000 Kilometer per hour. As they pass by the stationary plasmas they appear to drop off and pick up cargo...The cargo moves rapidly to and from the stationary plasma-like spheres where they instantaneously disappear from the telescope FOV."

Portigal concludes:

"The video clearly shows objects materializing within a frame or two of giant giant plasmas flying past. After transit the plasmas disappear suggesting a link with the appearance of the cargo and giant plasmas."

The processed video itself may be viewed here.

NASIC

In a tweet dated 28 October 2021 Portigal tweeted " The first two videos with papers were confirmed with NASIC through back channels to be real and very sensitive. Fortunately I created and own them thus they can be released to the public." (NASIC is the US National Air and Space Intelligence Center.)

Fact checking

1. The Hypertemporal imaging space experiment was a funded project

2. The object described in the 2008 papers was captured using a Nikon D40 camera, and the telescopic data via a " Celestron 8 inch Newtonian reflector coupled with a Celestron CCD Solar System Imager." The objects described in the 2009 paper were captured using a "Celestron 8 inch Newtonian reflector with a Celestron Solar System Imager. The video camera is a Celestron NextImage using the Philips Toucam without optics designed to fit the telescope eye piece." They were not captured using the Air Force Research Laboratory equipment.

3.  Social media advises that Portigal had passed around images of his US passport to verify his identity.

4. Research gate has several papers concerning spectral imaging, listing Portigal as an author. 

What do others think of the claims?

There is a long discussion on UFO Reddit. A percentage of people think one video (not the ones with papers) show car headlights; and another shows an aircraft. 

1. JunkTheRat - a Reddit user wrote concerning the videos: "What I am saying is your algorithm is simply an interpretation of the visual data...it's just your algorithm interpreting the data and providing that geometry."

2. User Vade, with a background in graphics and video processing says "I'm 99.9% convinced these "ships" are artifacts of using an image processing techniques to artificially show structure. When zoomed in to that amount, the image appears muddy, and gradients are used to create shape. Using something like a scan line processor to use luminance to create an extrusion you can get similar shapes by filming out of focus LEDs and post processing them."

3. Quite a few others agree that the processing system used, produced artifacts which have apparentt "structure." They suggest that Portigal then made his own interpretations as to what they represent.

The response on Twitter has been along the same lines, that it is Portigal's interpretation that is not correct. On 7 November Portigal Tweeted "I am sick of the lying, redirection and disinformation. I will release a bunch more then it is off my chest and I can quit Twitter. It is no place for Scientific discussion."

No doubt this debate will continue for a while.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Australian Department of Defence and UAP - the latest

Protocols

In June 2019, I asked the Australian Department of Defence if they had "...any current guidelines concerning the reporting by Department of Defence personnel of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena?" Their response was "Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of UFO sightings."

Later, on 16 June 2021, I submitted an FOIA request to the Australian Department of Defence. "I wish to obtain copies of emails generated by the Department of Defence between 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021, which refer to the terms "unidentified drone;" "unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object;" or "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena."  On 13 July 2021, the Department's response, in short, was "No records were found."

The latest

Chief of Airforce, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld

Today, the Australian ABC news carried an account concerning statements about UAP made by Chief of Airforce, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld. This arose in the context of a Senate Estimates Committee hearing.

Senator Whish-Wilson

The ABC reported, that Green Senator Peter Whish-Wilson asked Hupfeld a question about the June U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence's preliminary UAP report. Hupfeld responded that while he had no formal knowledge of the findings in the report he was aware of the report via media accounts. 

Air Marshall Hupfeld stated that:

"...he had not seen any reports of 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' - or UAPs - in Australian airspace."

"I'm not familiar with, nor have seen any reports or information regarding UAPs in an Australian airspace context, and there's no air-force-led task force that looks into the phenomena."

Asked whether the Jindalee radar system could detect UAP's he replied:

"It's not possible for me to determine whether the JORN would see something like an unusual airborne phenomenon, without knowing the construction materials, and other performance parameters of such an object, if indeed it was an object."

Update: 2 November 2021

A transcript of the relevant Senate Estimates Committee, dated 27 October 2021 has been published.  The relevant section is as follows:

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I'm not sure exactly who to ask to respond to these questions, because they may well not have been asked before. I was wondering if I could have someone senior from the Air Force— particularly a pilot, if that's possible. 

CHAIR: Who knows how to fly a plane! Senator Payne: We'll do our best to find you a pilot from the Air Force. I'll call the Chief of Air Force; there's a plan! 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: The Chief of Air Force would be great, if that's possible. Senator Payne: He's a pilot; I've seen him fly. 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I am a pilot. I used to fly aeroplanes—not currently now. I think I've got the information you might need, pending your question. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I know we have close ties with the US. We share intelligence. My questions relate to the release of the report on 25 June 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Preliminary assessment: unidentified aerial phenomena. This is an issue that has been raised in Congress; the Department of Defense has submitted a report. It's become a significant matter of public interest. I suppose my first question is: are you aware of that report? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I'm not formally aware of the report. I think there was an article in the newspapers and commentary about that at some stage. But I'm not quite sure of the content of the report. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Okay. Just as a matter of interest, what questions did you think I was going to ask? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I thought you were going to ask questions about aircraft, but it sounds like you're going to ask questions about UFOs. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: We'd be very interested to hear your views on this. Yes, it has been reported in the media extensively both here and internationally. I'll just read you a few statements or the executive summary from that report. It basically talks about UAPs as being something that the US Department of Defense is taking seriously, and that the Pentagon has a taskforce assigned to better understand the data interpretation of recent sightings. The report says: 'UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.' Then it goes on to talk about the 144 cases that the Pentagon looked at. Only one was clearly explainable; the others remain unexplained. It says that, after carefully considering the information, the taskforce reported that UAPs largely witnessed firsthand by military aviators were 'collected from systems that were considered to be reliable.' It went on: 'Most reports described UAP as objects that interrupted pre-planned training or other military activity.' Could I ask whether the Australian Air Force or the Australian military also have a taskforce looking at UAPs? Is this something that you're familiar with at all in your brief? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I'm not familiar with nor have I seen any reports or information regarding UAPs in an Australian airspace context. There's no Air Force led taskforce that looks into this phenomena.

WHISH-WILSON: We don't do any monitoring of this at all? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: There have been no reports that I'm aware of, Senator. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: No informal reports from pilots or across other military activities? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: None from any aircrew or aviation organisation that I'm aware of. The only experience that I have in this was over 40 years ago when some reports were made and we launched Mirage aircraft. The phenomena turned out to be errors on the radar screens in our normal civil air-traffic control system, but no physical objects were detected. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Does the characterisation of the DOD, in relation to their report, of both intent and advanced technology concern you? Basically, they're saying they can't explain what these things are, but they would like to better understand them. 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I can't answer for another sovereign nation. That is a matter for the US and the Pentagon and the Department of Defense in the US. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Would it be possible for you to see if, across the other services, there has been any kind of reporting system in relation to this in Australia? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: Certainly, I can take that on notice. But I feel confident that, as the airspace control authority within Australia, if there had been any detections or items such as this, I would have been aware of them. But I can take that on notice to double-check. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Okay. Typically, would something like Jindalee be able to pick-up fast-moving objects, or is it more designed to look at ships and— 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: Senator, the Jindalee Operational Radar Network is designed to detect aircraft and some ships. I won't go into the details of the nature of that detection, as we would then be getting into very classified areas. It's not possible for me to determine whether the JORN would see something like an unusual airborne phenomenon without knowing the construction, materials and other performance parameters of such an object, if, indeed, it was an object. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: As a pilot, have you seen any of the video footage that's been released by the US military? It's unclassified and it's been reported on by either the New York Times or the Washington Post. Even The Conversation here in Australia, which, as you know, is quite a respectable, conservative media outlet, has written a report. They're not saying they agree that these things may be more than aberrations, but they are saying, 'Finally, there's a mature conversation now happening around UAPs and we're trying to better understand them.' 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: Through professional curiosity, I did look at some of the videos that were attached to those media reports. They were interesting but not compelling to me. I don't believe everything that I read in the media. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: No, nor do I. It's certainly something we learn in Canberra. It's just interesting. Do you think it would be possible for pilots to spoof that kind of thing? 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I'm not sure what you mean by 'spoof'. Are you talking about the— 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Obviously the video has come from US Air Force pilots. I think there are 80 different sources, and the DOD and Pentagon are taking this seriously. 

Air Marshal Hupfeld: I'm not really able to comment on that. There are too many variables to even form a view. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Thank you for that. If you could just take that on notice, that would be excellent. 

Senator Payne: I can say with some confidence that after over two decades of participating in the Senate estimates process this is the first occasion on which in any capacity I have had the opportunity to observe a conversation and a question-and-answer session on such an issue. So thank you so much for bringing it to our attention. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: My pleasure, Senator Payne. I do notice our key ally is taking this very seriously. Senator Payne: I heard you. 

Senator WHISH-WILSON: It is now emerging as a matter of public interest. So I'm glad you appreciate that. Senator Payne: I listened with great interest. I'm glad we could find you a pilot.

Update: 4 November 2021

On 28 October 2021, the Senator was interviewed by Brian Carlton on Triple M, Hobart, Tasmania, 107.3FM. They discussed the Senator's appearance on the Senate Estimates Committee of 27 October 2021. I noted the following points:

1. The Senator thought that as the U.S. and Australia are close allies that we may be doing something to look at UAP.

2. The Senator was surprised that the Chief of Air had not read the June 2021 Office of the Director of National Intelligence UAP report. 

3, 20 years ago, a friend of the Senator's who served in the Special Forces in Iraq and East Temor, told the Senator a story. Early one morning, he was on an exercise on a boat, at an undisclosed location. The boat was followed by a metallic object. In July 2021, after the DNI report came out, the Senator was in Western Australia and had a beer with his mate. Talking about UAP his mate asked if he remembered him telling the Senator about the UAP from 20 years back? The Senator did and then decided he would ask some questions in Australian parliament.

4. The Senator will put some detailed questions to  follow up his Senate Estimates questions.

5. He believes someone in the Australian DOD should have spoken to US sources about the subject. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lacatski

Background

Updated 21 October 2021

As most blog readers will be aware, I have been closely following the stories of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS); the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications program (AAWSAP); and the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) for several years. I have written and published over 50 blog posts about these topics. 

Fellow Australian Paul Dean was the first person outside of AAWSAP, to reveal that the New York Times 2017 article about AATIP, actually was about AAWSAP. Shortly after this, I was the first person outside of the U.S. Government to read an online copy of the AAWSAP Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) solicitation for proposals to run the AAWSAP. 

After all of that, what I was waiting for was the AAWSAP Defense Intelligence Agency contract manager, James T. Lacatski, to come forward and tell his story. I felt, and still feel, that researchers such as Paul Dean, Marc Cecotti; Roger Glassel; Curt Collins, myself and others, have done a reasonable job putting together the AAWSAP story, as outsiders to the program. 

This blog then, is filling in the gaps in the knowledge we drew together about AAWSAP. These gaps have been filled, due to the publication of a new book "Skinwalkers at the Pentagon" authored by James T. Lacatski; Colm Kelleher and George Knapp. Only the BAASS insiders could have provided us what is presented in the book. The authors advise that they use pseudonyms for some individuals, while revealing the real names of others. 


The following then, is not a "book review" or indeed a summary of what's in the book; but notes and my comments based on information new to me; or which I was vaguely aware of.

A chronology

March 2007 - Lacatski reads the book 2005 "Hunt for the Skinwalker" by George Knapp and Dr. Colm Kelleher. Lacatski then, is working at the DIA Defense Warning Office, and sees that the types of things described in the book could be a threat to the USA. 

19 June 2007 - Lacatski writes to Bigelow, after reading the book. Asks to visit Skinwalker Ranch (SWR.)

26 July 2007 - Lacatski visits SWR. Sees an "anomaly." It was "...a complex semi-opaque, yellowish, tubular structure." Seen for about 30 seconds in broad daylight inside one of the households. Present at the time were Robert Bigelow and the two ranch managers, who did not report seeing anything. 

29 January 2008 - BAASS is registered in the state of Nevada.

18 August 2008 - DIA puts out a call for proposals for AAWSAP. Solicitation number HHM402-07-R-0019. 

8 September 2008 - BAASS submits a proposal. This had nine points:

1. Global data collection.

2. Contact with people who may have novel technologies.

3. Laboratory program - SWR.

4. Collect oral histories.

5. Potential use Bigelow Aerospace space  platforms.

6. Access to existing DIA data.

7. Biological effects of advanced technologies.

8. Remote sensing.

9. Expert analysis and synthesis.

22 September 2008 - BAASS awarded the AAWSAP contract. First year $10 million, for BAASS proposals 1,4,6 and 9.  Second year $12 million. Contract number was HHM402-08-C-0072.

30 September 2008 - Bigelow goes on Coast to Coast radio show with George Knapp. Bigelow. describes the work of BAASS. Outlines AAWSAP without mentioning AAWSAP name. For my transcript of the interview, click here. 

30 September 2008 - April 2009 - Kelleher hires staff. More than 75 contractors. Several hundred part-time personnel doing field work. 

Comment: I think the several hundred figure, refers to MUFON field investigators.

Early November 2008 - Bigelow hires Colm Kelleher for BAASS. Kelleher previously worked for Bigelow's National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS.)

Early December 2008 - Kelleher interviews then hires Douglas Kurth. Kurth tells Kelleher about the 2004 Tic Tac encounter. Kelleher tells Lacatski.  Lacatski's associate Jonathon Axelrod (not real name) and team, investigate and document the encounter. 

Comments: 1. Kurth's LinkedIn page refers to the date he commenced, as December 2007, which has always puzzled me. December 2008 fits the timeline much. better. 2.  So, I deduce that Axelrod was the author of the 13 page 2004 "Executive Summary" Nimitz report, released by George Knapp. Researchers have pondered over who the author of this leaked document was. 

April 2009 - MUFON cases flowing to BAASS. For three such reports, here is a link to the actual MUFON reports.  BAASS has contracted labs to undertake material analysis. 

Comment:  I documented a spreadsheet of 71 cases which flowed to BAASS, from MUFON Journal sources. The earliest was 13 September 2005; the latest was dated 11 January 2010. 

8 May 2009 - Derek Jones case. Saw a large triangular shaped almost overhead, Shone a powerful torch at it, An intense blue white light 2-3 feet in diameter came from objects front center section. On him for three seconds, Felt heat, He filed a report with MUFON. Next day saw several helicopters in the area, Two men knocked on his door and interrogated him about sighting. BAASS tracked  vehicle plate involved to a Department of Homeland Security carpool. October 2009  Jones experiencing unusual multiple lumps. Potential for effects to be due to non-ionizing radiation.

Comments: 1. According to the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of the MUFON Journal, this case actually happened on 11 September 2009. MUFON case number 19255. Investigated by MUFON investigators John Kledis and Robert Coley. The Journal presents an excellent summary of this event. The location was actually Leasburg, North Carolina. The case was referred to BAASS by MUFON. Why Lacatski's book provides a different date and location, is unknown to me. 

2. The Lacatski book poses the question of whether or not, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were monitoring the MUFON Case Management System and found out about the case. Richard Lang, the MUFON/BAASS liaison individual, in his 2021 book "UFO Investigation: The methodology for a New Age. " has a section titled "Hidden cases." He writes:

"Toward the end of the program, issues about cases that were mysteriously disappearing overnight started to surface....high profile extremely interesting cases that were viewed by the Dispatch team overnight but somehow the following morning the cases disappeared from the system...Ultimately, I found evidence of it in what appeared to be a secret part of the file system."

24 June 2009 - Reid's letter to DoD. Asked  for project to become an Special Access program (SAP.) Used nickname for AAWSAP, of AATIP -not the later DoD AATIP program. Reid nominated a staffer Robert Herbert to deliver letter to DoD. Someone copied the letter and distributed it. At Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence (USDI),  General James R. Clapper got a copy. Meeting convened to discuss it. participants were:

* William Lynn, Deputy Sec of Defense, (real name.)

* Susan Jones- senior official USDI Special Programs Officer.

* Marcel Lettre - (real name). At Pentagon 2009-2017. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.

* James R Clapper, USDI, (real name.)

* Robert Carlsberg, Senior DWO official at DIA.

The meriting decided to "postpone "any SAP status for AAWSAP. A SAP for "contract data exploitation was still determined to be necessary."

July 2009 -Lagol  California case. Blue lights appeared close by. The witness approached in a truck. LITS vanished. Roger saw object enter a portal in the sky. BAASS were advised about the case by MUFON. BAASS investigators themselves saw LITS via night vision google that was not visible to the naked eye, 257 page report submitted to DIA.

July 2009 - SWR visit by three. Jonathan Axelrod; Jim Costigan and David Wilson. Axelrod was friends with Lacatski. Axelrod was a senior aerospace engineer in Naval Intelligence. Lead investigator in 2009 of the 2004 Tic Tac case, which he had not finished investigating by July 2009. On SWR they encountered a temperature difference region; Night vision observation by one of men of a dark oval shape.  Shortly afterwards Axelrod's family experience a series of paranormal events at their home. Black humanoid shape, footsteps, blue orbs, huge wolf-like creature.

11 December 2009 -BAASS visits Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). Lacatski, Kelleher and BAASS Director of Investigations Larry Grossman visited AFOSI - Grossman was a former AFOSI CI operative. BAASS wanted AFOSI to identify any case caused by AF SAPs. BAASS would alert AFOSI if any of their Advanced technology objects were seen by large numbers of the public. They met Jack Angelo, (real name) Director of Operations, Office of Special Projects. BAASS wanted data on Oct/Nov 1975 AFBs incursions. 

Comment: From his visit to Brazil, the BAASS Director Of Investigations and Security was identified as one Loran Huffman. His LinkedIn page states he was at BAASS from January 2009 to March 2012, and a special agent with AFOSI between January 1985 and November 2000. He visited Brazil in May 2009. James A. Johnson was the BAASS Program Manager, Investigations. He also visited Brazil in May 2009. 

21 December 2010 - AAWSAP contract ceases, after an agreed three month contract extension.

7 February 2011 - Lacatski visits Department of Homeland Security seeking to create a DHS version of BAASS/AAWSAP. Nothing eventuated. 

General

1. The collective name given to the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents (DIRDs) was "Project Physics."

2. Undated: There was a visit to Washington by then Minister for Homeland Security in Brazil, General Paulo Roberto Yog de Miranda Ucboa. There was a dinner organized by Axelrod and Lacatski. Participants were:

Lacatski; Axelrod; Jim Costigan; David Wilson; Luis Elizondo then of USDI; Juliett Witt - Pentagon Operational Test and Evaluation Analyst and DoD Target Sensor Specialist.; Colm Kelleher; Robert Bigelow. Maybe others not named.

Witt visited SWR with Kellehr and Bigelow. Cone of silence,. Creature passed within  40 feet of her. Witt went home experienced sounds an footsteps.. Bird attack. Shadowy figures.

3. A case from 1 May 2005 to "Ron Becker." Biotechnologist. Daughter saw three blue orbs approach their car and one went through Becker's body. He felt ill immediately, Over weeks gained fifty pounds. Took until late 2008 for health to return. Early issues consistent with radiation insult. Daughter had plethora of paranormal events.

4. I deduce that Axelrod was the author of the 13 page 2004 "Executive Summary" Nimitz report. 

5. Capella data warehouse. Cases from US, Canada, Europe, Russia, South America. Capella comprised 11 databases. These were:

1. NIDS db.

2. Dominique Weinstein's pilot db.

3. Project Sign. Grudge, Project Blue Book db.

4. MUFON CMS db.

5. Project Colares db.

6. Canadian government release db.

7. UK government release db.

8. AAWSAP BAASS case db.

9. Skinwalker ranch db.

10. UFOCAT db.

11. Eyes-only physiological effect on individuals who spent time at SWR.

6. BAASS mechanical, electrical and software engineers designed a UAP monitoring platform could be deployed in the field.

7. BAASS chief biologist Roger Whittiker and BAASS biologist Amanda Kruse conducted seed germination experiment.

8. Attempts were made in 2011 to start a BAASS like program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Never happened. Contacts there named in book as Jim Bell and Sacha Mover. 

9. "The authors are aware that the AAWSAP BAASS Data Warehouse...had been recently reactivated and is currently in use in various locations related to the government study of UAPs."

Comment: Wouldn't you like to have a copy of this data warehouse?

10. Skinwalker Ranch continues to have events occurring there. 

A DIA FOIA AATIP/AAWSAP response - nearly four years on

Searching for information One of the earliest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identificat...