Thursday, August 4, 2022

What we know about the Australian Department of Defence's (lack of) interest in UAP

Freedom of Information Act requests 

From Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by Melbourne researcher Grant Lavac, and myself; correspondence between Grant Lavac and the Office of the Australian Minister for Defence; and other reporting, it can be stated that:

1. "Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of UFO sightings." [June 2019.]

2. "Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena..." [June 2019.]

3. DOD has no internal emails, generated between 1 January 2021 and 16 June 2021, which refer to keywords "Unidentified drone;" "Unidentified aircraft;" "Unidentified object;" or "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." [July 2021.]

4. The former Chief of Air Force Air Marshall Mel Hupfield said "...he had not seen any reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAPs - in Australian airspace." [October 2021.]

Former Chief Of Air Force - Mel Hupfield

5. In early 2022, the DOD prepared an internal briefing paper on UAP, for possible use in responding to UAP related questions in Senate Estimates Committee Hearings. Included in this briefing paper were the following:

a. The RAAF ceased handling UFO reports in 1996.

b. "Defence Safety flight incidents, including those posed by UAP are handled by the Defence Aviation Safety Authority." [Note: Grant Lavac was advised by the DOD in an FOIA response, that no DASA reports between 2017 and 31 March 2022 referred to UAP.]

c. "...the United States nor any other nation or ally has requested or offered to collaborate on any UAP reporting or investigation."

d. "Defence has no desire to seek collaboration on this issue."

6. a. "Defence does not have a protocol for the reporting and researching of UAP and UFO sightings. At this point of time Defence will not be pursuing research into this matter."

b. "...that Defence has not briefed the Deputy Prime Minister with regard to the topic of UAP or UFO..."

c. "Whilst the Deputy Prime Minister has been engaging with his international counterparts on a range of topics in his capacity as both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence this has not included the topics of UFO or UAP."

d. "The Deputy Prime Minister has not been provided the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial phenomena for review."

[July 2022.]

Comments

The DOD, as above, says it has no (overt) interest in the topic of UAP. Are there any other areas of the Australian government, today, taking an overt interest in the subject?

In previous times, 1951 to around the mid 1990's, the following government departments and agencies held files on UAP (which they called "Flying saucers;" "Unusual aerial sightings;" and "UFOs.")

The former Department of Supply. The former Department of Civil Aviation. The former Department of Territories. ASIO. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The Army, Navy, RAAF and the Joint Intelligence Bureau/Joint Intelligence Organisation, within the Department of Defence.

Today, if they followed the lead set by the United States, the following Australian government departments and agencies, should have an interest, due either to air safety issues or national security.

Air Services Australia. 

Aviation Transport Safety Bureau. 

Civil Aviation Safety Authority. 

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. 

The Australian Space Agency. 

Within the Department of Defence, the Defence Aviation Safety Authority, Defence Science and Technology Group; Defence Intelligence Organisation, the Navy. and Defence Space Command. 

Defence Space Command - Air Vice-Marshal Roberts

However, I have seen no evidence that any of the above, have in fact, a current interest in UAP, despite what they may have undertaken in the past.

Catch 22

A catch 22 situation exists. Are Australian military personnel not reporting UAP encounters because there is no formal DOD protcol/system, for reporting such things; or do Australian military personnel not encounter UAP at all?

When there was a formal reporting system in place by the RAAF; according to the RAAF's own UAP files, Australian military personnel did report such encounters. Anecdotal accounts being provided to individuals such as Australian investigative reporter Ross Coulthart, as reported by Ross on a variety of podcasts and in his book "In Plain Sight," suggests that Australian military personnel continue to encounter UAP.

Australian Department of Defence UAP guidelines

What harm would it do, if the Australian Department of Defence instituted guidelines for its own personnel, encouraging the reporting of any UAP incidents? We would then soon see if such incidents are in fact occurring in Australian airspace/waters.  I am not advocating that the Department, once again, invites reports from civilians; merely from its own personnel. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Questions to the Australian Minister of Defence re UAP

Background

In June 2019 I posed a set of UAP related questions to the Australian Department of Defence, via its media section. Then, in June 2021 I posed a further set of questions via the same process. On 19 June 2022 I wrote a piece about the DOD's response to my FOIA query about "unauthorised aircraft movements." Finally, on 8 July 2022, I wrote an article providing details of Melbourne researcher, Grant Lavac's FOIA request to the Australian DOD which disclosed an internal multi page "briefing paper" on UAP. The purpose of my media questions, and FOIA requests has been to determine, what interest, if any, the Australian DOD has regarding UAP. Grant Lavac has been on the same track, looking to ascertain the Australian  DOD's interest in the topic. 

Emails to the Minister Of Defence

Grant has also been attempting to engage the political process, by communicating with the Office of the Minister for Defence. 

His first email, dated 6 June 2022 read:

"Dear The Hon Richard Marles MP,

I hope this email finds you well and wish to congratulate you on Labor's recent election win, and your recent appointment as Minister for Defence.

Following last October's Senate estimates hearing where Senator Whish-Wilson had the courage and gumption to raise the issue of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and press RAAF Chief Air-Marshal Mel Hupfield on his knowledge of UAPs in an Australian context, I thought I would take this opportunity, as your constituent, to write to you and respectfully request your direct involvement with the UAP issue, and ask that you follow Senator Whish-Wilson's lead in getting the public answers about what really is going on in regard to this phenomena in Australia.

Although politicians and UAPs mix together like oil and water due to the stigma attached with the topic; I am here to say that should not be the case. I urge you not to fall victim to what has seermed to be the norm over the more than past seven decades, which would be a total disregard for the issue based solely on erroneous "facts" and undeserved labels that have plagued the topic.

That needs to change.

Based on official and verifiable evidence alone, the United States government has seemingly misled its citizens, allies and the broader global community about UAPs and the absolute truth behind it for decades. Although it sounds like conspiracy-talk, it is downright proven with declassified documents obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from agencies including, but not limited to, CIA, NSA, DIA, DoD, Navy, Air Force.

These documents along with recent revelations by renowned Australian investigative journalist Ross Coulthart prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an ongoing cover-up and deception about the topic. The question I have, as a both concerned Australian and global citizen, is why? And my government has never adequately answered this question.

If you are not familiar with Australian investigative journalist Ross Coulthart's work on this topic, I would encourage both you and your fellow Senators to review his book, "In Plain Sight" and supporting documentary, "THE UFO PHENOMENON," which first aired on Australian TV channel 7's SPOTLIGHT program in late May. The documentary is readily accessible via YouTube and can be viewed via the following link...

My trust in the government has regrettably waned as a result of the ongoing deception and based on the evidence I've taken the time to review todate. I feel strongly there is not enough being done about this topic, and it is my hope that this is where you can come in.

I hope both you and Senator Whish-Wilson can help by pushing for open, public, parliamentary hearings on the UAP issue and follow our US ally and Five Eyes partner's lead to tackle the topic seriously and treat it with respect and scientific scrutiny it deserves. I believe you will find  overwhelming documented evidence presented, but more so, you will likely hear directly from men and women in the Australian Defence Force that have had firsthand encounters with objects - whether formally reported or not - that cannot be explained by conventional means. Case in point: The still secretive Australian Navy communications station - Harold E Holt is the site of numerous past and ongoing strange sightings of anomalous craft, including but not limited to, that of a glowing orb observed in October 1973.

While there is now a concerted effort within the U.S. Department of Defence, under the auspices of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG), along with the recent US public congressional hearing on UAP (the first U.S. public hearing on the topic in more than 50 years), designed to formally investigate and identify UAPs; secrecy is still paramount and the public is left in the dark. Answers are few and far between, and the June 2021 report (Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) provided to the US public and international community about this issue produced more questions than answers.

I trust that you will succeed where your predecessor, the Hon Peter Dutton MP failed in taking this issue seriously in an Australian context, and hope you will take my name and add it to the countless others writing to their electoral leaders to continue to ask questions and demand answers on UAPs.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your response."

Response

R J Denney https://www.airforce.gov.au/our-people/our-leaders/head-air-force-capability

A letter dated 7 July 2022, from R. J. Denney, Air Vice-Marshal, Head of Air Force Capability provided a response. It read:

"Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Thank you for your correspondance of 6 June 2022 to the Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles MP, concerning Unidentified Aerial Phenomema (UAP) and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). I appreciate the time you have taken to bring this matter to my attention.

Defence does not have a protocol for the reporting and researching of UAP and UFO sightings. At this point in time, Defence will not be pursuing research into this matter.

I understand that the Uinted States Congress recently held a hearing on UAP and UFO sightings. As this is a matter from a foreign government I am unable to provided you with any further insights.

I understand that this may be disappointing to you, however, I thank you for your ongoing interest and passion in this matter."

Follow up email

Grant sent a further email, dated 26 June 2022:

"Dear The Hon Richard Marles, MP

I hope this follow-up email finds you well.

As it's coming up on 3 weeks since my initial email (refer below) and I've not yet received a response from you, I thought I'd take this opportunity to follow-up and enquire as to when I can expect to hear from you.

I also thought I'd take this opportunity to remind you that both of Australia's Five Eyes partners, the US and Canada are now taking the issue of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) very seriously. In addition, the government of Brazil has also voiced its concern by formally holding a public congressional hearing on the topic in just the last week.

The landscape around the UAP topic has changed considerably since the Australian Department of Defence formally terminated its Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) policy back in 2013. As such and following your recent series of meetings with various international leaders and Department of Defence counterparts, I would greately appreciate your response to the following pertinent questions.

1. In your capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and/or Minister for Defence, have you engaged international leaders and/or your Defence counterparts respectively on the UAP issue?

2. Have you been formally briefed on the UAP issue?

3. Have you formally reviewed the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence's "Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena"?

4. In the light of the stance our US ally and Five Eyes partners has taken on the UAP topic, will the Australian Department of Defence, under your leadership finally review its position on the UAP topic in 2022 and communciate this to the Australian public?

I eagerly await your response."

Second DOD response 

On 26 July 2022, R. J. Denney, Air Vice-Marshal, Head of Air Force Capability, responded to Grant.

" Request for Open, Public, Parliamentary Hearings on  UAPs

Thank you for your correspondence of 26 June 2022 to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Richard Marles MP, concerning Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs.) Your correspondence has been passed on to me for response.

In response to your first and second question, I wish to inform you that Defence has not briefed the Deputy Prime Minister with regard to the topic of UAP or UFO. Whilst the Deputy Prime Minister has been engaging with his international counterparts on a range of topics in his capacity as both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, this has not included the topics of UFO or UAP.

The Deputy Prime Minister has not been provided the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial phenomena for review.

The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Air Force does not lead on these forums. Air Force does not consider this the appropriate platform to discuss the topic of UAP or UFO.

I understand the Air Force has previously responded to your queries regarding this topic on a number of occasions. I am satifisfied we have sufficiently addressed your query and as a result, this will be our final correspondence relating to this matter.

Any new questions or concerns will be addressed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister or the Department of Defence, should the matter fall into our scope of responsibilities."

Grant has submitted a further set of questions, which I will report upon when a government response becomes available. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Establishment of the US Department of Defence All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office

Media release

On 20 July 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense published a media release titled "DoD Announces the Establishment of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office." The text of the release reads:

https://media.defense.gov/2021/Mar/03/2002592680/-1/-1/0/210212-A-BI463-0003.JPG

"On July 15, 2022, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence [DNI], amended her original direction to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security by renaming and expanding the scope of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group [AOIMSG] to the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office [AARO], due to the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022, which included a provision to establish an office, in coordination with DNI, with responsibilities that were broader than those originally assigned to the AOIMSG.

Today, USD (I&S) Hon Ronald S.  Moultrie informed the department of the establishment of AARO within the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and named Dr. Sean M. Kirkpatrick, most recently the Chief Scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency's Missile and Space Intelligence Center, as the Director of AARO.

The mission of the AARO will be to synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense, and with other US federal departments and agencies, to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in, on or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security. This includes anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged, and transmedium objects.

The AARO Executive Council [AAROEXEC], led by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security [USD(S&I)] Ronald Moultrie, will provide oversight and direction to the AARO along these primary lines of effort:

1. Surveillance, Collection and Reporting.

2. System Capabilities and Design. 

3. Intelligence Operations and Analysis.

4.  Mitigation and Defeat. 

5.  Governance. 

6.  Science and Technology.

See Deputy Secretary of Defense Hicks‘s AARO establishment memo here.

See USD [I&S] Moultrie's AARO establishment memo here.

Read Dr. Kilpatrick‘s bio here.

AARO Establishment Memo

Deputy Secretary of Defense Hick's AARO  establishment memo, dated 15 July 2022, reads;

Memorandum for senior Pentagon leadership

Commanders of the Combatant Commands

Defense Agency and DoD Field Activity Directors.

Subject; Establishment of the all the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office

On November 23, 2021, I directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security [USD [INS]] to establish the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group [AOIMSG] to synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense [DoD] and with other federal departments and agencies to detect, identify, and attribute objects of interest in special air space. I also established the Aerial Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group Executive Council [AOIMSEXEC) to provide oversight and direction to the AOIMSG.

Prior to the establishment of AOIMSG the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] for fiscal year [FY] 2022 was enacted with a proviso that requires the Secretary of Defense to establish an office, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence [DNI], with responsibilities to include those that were to be assigned to the OAIMSG. Therefore, following coordination with the DNI, I hearby approve the following amendment to my original direction in Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum, “Establishment of the Airborne Object Identification and Synchronization Management Group,“ November 23, 2021, to meet the DoD requirements in section 1683 of the NDA for FY 2022.

The All-domain Anomaly Resolutions Office [AARO] will be established a carry out the duties that were to be fulfilled by the AOIMSG. The mission of the AARO will be to “synchronize efforts across the department and with other federal departments and agencies to detect, identify, and attribute objects of interest, on, or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use air space and other areas of interest, and, as necessary to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operation or national security. This includes anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged or transmedium objects. 

The AOIMEXEC is renamed the AARO Executive Council (AAROEXEC.) The mission of the AAROEXEC will be to provide oversight and direction to the AARO.

I direct the USD [I&S] to establish the AARO, in coordination with the Director of Administration and Management. Consistent with section 1683 of the NDAA for FY 2022, I also direct the Secretary of the Navy to disestablish  the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force [UAPTF] no later than the date the AARO is established, and to support the orderly transition of the UAPTF, including the transfer of any data, analysis, or other relevant material, to the AARO.

The AARO  will serve as the authoritative office of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP) and  UAP-related activities for the DoD.The AARO is the DoD focal point for all UAP and UAP-related activities and may represent the department for such activities to the interagency, Congress, media, and public, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs and Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. Any DoD component acting on behalf of the UAPTF, or who has data, analysis, contacts, or other material related to UAP, will immediately synchronize their efforts with AARO.

USD(S&I) memo

https://media.defense.gov/2021/Sep/03/2002847568/-1/-1/0/210819-D-IF881-2001.JPG


The USD (I&S) Ronald S. Moultrie, then issued his own memo, dated 20 July 2022, which reads:

"Memorandum for senior Pentagon Leadership

Commanders of the Combatant Commands

Defense Agency and Field Activity Directors

Subject: Establishing, Resourcing and Leadership of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office.

References: (a) Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum "Establishment of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group," November 23, 2021.

(b) Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum "Establishment of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office" (AARO) July 15, 2022.

Pursuant to references (a) and (b), I establish the All-domain Anomaly Resolution office within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security. The AARO will synchronize efforts across the Department and with other U.S. federal agencies to detect, identify, and attribute objects of interest in, or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security. These includes anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged and transmedium objects.

The AARO will leverage Department of Defense capabilities and synchronize with the Intelligence Community to tackle the unique challenges posed by  the presence of anomalous objects across all domains. I will manage the processes to enable the AARO Executive Council to provide oversight and direction to the AARO along the following primary lines of effort:

1. Surveillance, Collection and Reporting.

2. System Capabilities and Design.

3. Intelligence Operations and Analysis.

4. Mitigation and Defeat.

5. Governance.

6. Science and Technology.

My office will provide necessary administrative support, to the AARO, including facilities management, budgets, contracts, human resources, security, congressional affairs, and information technology. My office will also advocate for resources to support the operations of the AARO and the executive of the AARO mission across the Future Years Defense Plan.

During the transition from the Navy UAP Task Force to the AARO, I expect the DoD components to continue to meet their responsibilities for timely reporting of UAP, as they have done to this point. We will provide implementation guidelines as we move forward with the AARO establishment, and we look forward to working with the DoD to streamline reporting processes and procedures.

It is vital to our national security and the safety of our military personnel that we maintain awareness of anomalous objects in all domains. We must also keep pace with the development and employment of novel technologies by our adversaries. In doing so, we are committed to providing maximum transparency while safeguarding classified information and controlled unclassified information. The establishment of the AARO is a significant step forward in developing the capabilities and processes that are necessary to achieve these goals."

Twitter

On the 22 July 2022, Ronald S Moultrie tweeted:

"Dr. Kirkpatrick and I had a very productive discussion with Senator Gillibrand and her staff yesterday regarding @DoD_AARO and look forward to continuing our work on this important effort."

In response, on 25 July 2022, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted:

"Thank you for taking the time to speak to me - I look forward to continuing this important work with you."

The All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office has its own Twitter account.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Enter a new UAP database player - Enigma Labs LLC

This year there has been a surge in the number of companies which have launched UAP databases. These include PhenomAInon; UPDB; and Enigma Labs.

PhenomAInon

On 7 May 2022, a new website called PhenomAInon, was launched by OtoAI Limited Liability Company. Papers to create this new LLC, were filed on 28 May 2021, filing number 2021-001008746, showing its home address as Sheridan, Wyoming. Its registered agent was an entity called Cloud Peak Law LLC. The home page of the website states:

"PhenomAInon is the world's first Cloud native Data and AI platform for phenomenon based data analysis. We are building a connected framework and Open Source Phenomenon Platform (OSPP) to provide data ingestion, data and AI analysis, and insights pipeline for research, collaboration, and community."

In a blog post dated 8 May 2022, I noted that the various individual databases that appear on the PhenomAInon website, were remarkably similar to those created by Jacques Vallee, in his CAPELLA data warehouse, perpared by him, on behalf of Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) for the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP.) Later, many of the BAASS related individual databases were withdrawn from the PhenomAInon site, although no reason was ever given for this latter action.

In attempting to determine how these DIA AAWSAP BAASS generated databases came to be made publicly available I noted that in the book "Skinwalkers at the Pentagon" by James T. Lacatski et al, there is the following quote:

"The authors are aware that the AAWSAP BAASS Date Warehouse, rather than lying fallow in a dusty warehouse or on a discarded hard drive, has been recently reactivated and is currently in use in various locations related to the government study of UAPs."
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jschurman/

Who is behind the PhenomAInon database? That would be Joe Schurman. Schurman gave a presentation titled "AI and UAPs" at the 2021 AI Expo, which provided an excellent outline of the platform which he has established for his UAP work. In the video of the presentation, Schurman mentions his liaison with such individuals as Chris Mellow, Lue Elizondo, and others in the Defense industry whom he cannot mention.

UPDB

The second database which appeared shortly after PhenomAInon, was UPDB.  As with the PhenomAInon databases, many of the individual databases in UPDB were remarkably similar to the CAPELLA data warehouse. The website states that:

"UPDB is a meta-database of reports & documents about unexplained phenomena. data previously stored away in disparate documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and long-dead websites can now be viewed together in a unified date & location format. Publius' philosophy is that new insights can be revealed with a higher level analysis of this decades-long body of work."

Who was behind the creation of UPDB? Twitter user, @uapublius owns up to this on their Twitter account, whilst remaining anonymous. 

Enigma Labs LLC

The latest entry into the field of UAP databases, is an entity named Enigma Labs LLC, about which an article appeared on bloomberg.com dated 12 July 2022, authored by Roxane Tiron and Mia McCarthy. A check of corporations registered with the State Secretary of Delaware found Enigma Labs LLC was registered 1 December 2020, file number 4272722. The registered agent was Corporation Service Company, 251 Little Falls Drive, Wilmington, county of New Castle, state of Delaware. 

The Enigma Labs website states:

* "Welcome to the first data and community platform dedicated to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)"

* "Enigma is the largest queryable, scored  UAP database in the world. We've run machine learning on over 400k civilian and military reports, collating media and sensor data, and deconflicting sightings with identifiable variables..."

Enigma Labs is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EnigmaLabs2  A March 2 2022 tweet about the company, advertised itself as "...the first well-resourced team of technologists to build a dedicated data, community and research platform for UAP/UFOs. Our founding group is made up of engineers, investigative journalists, data scientists and physicists." Although on Twitter since November 2020, the first tweet on 2 March 2022 anounced the launch of Engima Labs. The tweet had a link to an Enigma blog. 

Who is behind Enigma labs? The bloomberg article revealed that the founder was a woman named Alex Smith. A search on the Internet was undertaken, for additional information about Alex Smith, which fitted the profile information given in the media articles; Enigma Labs' blog and website, etc. No information could be found. What if the name Alex Smith was a pseudonym? But then, how to find out the identity of the real individual behind that name? 

Alex Smith's LinkedIn page states that Alex Smith was the founder of Enigma Labs in November 2020. So, various keyword searches  were performed on a number of Internet platforms. One of these searches was viaTwitter's advanced search tools, to look for anyone on Twitter who would fit  the profile described in the media articles etc. working backwards in time from 1 December 2020. It needed to be someone who'd expressed an interest  in UFOs (there were many); wasn't one of the dozens of recognizable UAP Twitter user names; and fitted the time frame of around November 2020. Out of all these searches, there was one hit.The potential candidate for "Alex Smith" tweeted the following on 15 October 2020 from Twitter account @alice_LG

"...humans need to take a break from bullshit and pay attention to the overwhelming evidence of _UFOs_

go watch @PhenomenonMovie - top of itunes chart. 70 years of credible global sightings, senators, astronauts testimony."

@alice_LG is an individual named Alice Lloyd George.

"Alex Smith" - an American female, based in New York City, who has experience in Internet start up companies; and an interest in aerospace/space, data science, and UFOs, which started around November 2020.

Alice Lloyd George - an American female, based in New York City, who has extensive experience in Internet start up companies; with an interest in frontier tech; science, space. Who, on 15 October 2020, tweeted "...humans need to take a break from bullshit and pay attention to the overwhelming evidence of _UFOs_"

 For more detailed information on Alice Lloyd George check out her LinkedIn page, her Twitter account; and article here.

In conclusion

Given that three players in the field of UAP databases have emerged in a short time; there is reason to believe that others may also enter the same arena over time. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Is China studying UAP?

South China Morning Post article

Last year, on 4 June 2021, an article appeared in the "South China Morning Post" about Chinese government interest in UAP, written by Stephen Chen, in Bejing. As we have heard no more about official Chinese government interest in the topic, since then, I thought it was worth while reprinting the text of that 2021 article.

"China military uses AI to track rapidly increasing UFOs.

* To the People's Liberation Army they are 'unidentified air condition' and artificial intelligence is the best way to keep up with them

* Chinese researchers confirm that sighting reports from across the country are on the rise but aliens are unlikely to be responsible.

As the Pentagon prepares its report on UFOs, due later this month, Chinese military researchers have turned to artificial intelligence to track and analyse the increasing number of unknown objects in China's airspace.

To the People's Liberation Army, they are 'unidentified air condition' - a phrase which echoes the US miltary's "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" but to the public they are better known as unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

According to Wuhan-based researcher Chen Li from the Air Force Early Warning Academy, human  analytics have been overwhelmed in recent years by the rapidly mounting sighting reports from a wide range of military and civilian sources across the country.

"The frequent awareness of unidentified air condition in recent years brings severe challenges to air defence security of our country," said Chen in a 2019 report to a conference of senior information technology scientists in Bejing in 2019.

The PLA's task force dedicated to the unknown objects increasing relies on AI techniques to analyse its data, according to Chen's report which is in line with several other military studies published in domestic journals, most recently in August last year.

According to Chen, one advantage of AI is that it can "think outside the box" - checking crumbs of information scattered across many data sets created at different times and locations, and draw links unseen by human eyes to help determine whether sightings were caused by a hostile country, amateur aviation enthusiasts, nature or "other reason" he said.

The question about UFOs which most captures the imagination is whether there are alien spaceships. The US military recently confirmed the authenticity of some leaked video footage captured by Navy pilots, in which flying objects appear to move in a manner that cannot be explained by current technology or physical laws.

The Pentagon report - required by Congress on these sightings which is expected to be partially released to the public - could be the first time any military has openly discussed the topic.

UFOs are a sensitive issue for any defence force, not only because they could be related to intelligent lifeforms from space, but also, and perhaps more likely, they may be incursions by another country's military.

An intruder enemy drone or aircraft, eqipped with adanced interference technology, for example, could fool radar or other sensors by creating ghost images that jump around in an inexplicable manner on screen, such incidents are usually classified for defence reasons, or to avoid embarrassment.

China's only official confirmed UFO sighting, occurred over a military airbase in Cangzhou, Hebei Province, on October 19, 1998. According to a report in Hebei Daily official newspaper of the Province, which neighbours Bejing - two military jets were ordered to intercept a low-flying object that appeared suddenly above an airbase. The object looked like a "short stemmed mushroom," with two beams of light shooting down from its belly. When the jets approached the object climbed with "ghost-like" speed to an altitude of 20,000 metres before disappearing from radar and visual contact. 

According to Chen and his colleagues, the PLA has a three-tier reporting system to handle unknown aerial objects. The base-level, which includes military radar stations, air-force pilots, police station, weather station and Chinese Academy of Science is responsible for gathering as much raw data as possible.

The information is passed mid-tier to the PLA's regional military command which conducts preliminary analysis and transferring the data to a national database.

With the help of AI, PLA headquarters assigns a "threat index" to each object based on its behaviour, frequency of occurrences, aerodynamic design, radioactivity, possible make and materials, along with other information.

The AI can pull together other information which may help determine an object's purpose. For instance, if similar unknown objects have a tendency to appear during major political events or military -exercises, they are considered more likely to be a man-made device deployed by another country to gather intelligence.

Nature is responsible for a significant proportion of the suspicious activity detected by the military. Ionised particle can be produced by electricity in the atmosphere, creating apaprently inexplicable images on radar, or other electronic systems, for example.

Manual verification of these events usually takes time, but AI can quickly identify most natural causes by cross-checking various pieces of information - such as weather, satellite data, according to the military researchers.

A radar scientist based in Xi'an in the northeast province of Shanxi said, the increasing number of unknown objects in China's airspace was "more likely caused by humans than aliens."

Chinese authorities have gradually lessened control on flight activity in low altitudes over the past five years with drones have also become relatively cheap and popular, he said.

Meanwhile, increased US military activity in the South China Sea and other sensitive waters near China could also account for the increased appearance of objects that cannot be immediately explained, said the researcher, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.

Comments:

1. No actual statistics are given for the previous, and current number of sightings in a given period.

2. No links, or citations are given for the Chinese Journal articles mentioned in the article.

3. Although many international media reports reported on the newspaper article, I cannot find any independent sources to confirm various details given in the article.

4. I did locate one paper by Chen Li and others, titled "Research on the optimization strategy of phased array radar multi-area search performance," by Yiming Liu; Wen Sheng; Shihua Liu; Chen Li, at the 11-13 December 2019 IEEE International Conference on Signal, Information and Data processing. The conference location is given as Chongqing, China.

Update: 31 July 2022

The Liberation Times posted an excellent review of China and UN efforts. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

A 2022 Australian Department of Defence Briefing Paper on UAP

Background

On 14 April 2022 I wrote a blog post about the establishment of Australia's new Defence Space Command, and that the initial Commander was Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts. This prompted Melbourne researcher Grant Lavac to submit the following Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Australian Department of Defence (DOD.)

Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts


“I kindly request a copy of all emails, sent to/from | bcc/cc’d Defence Space Commander Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts for the period 25 June 2021 to 15 April 2022 (inclusive), that contain any of the following keywords: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena; UAP; Unidentified Flying Object; UFO; Unidentified Flying Objects; UFOs;, Unauthorised Aircraft Movement; UAM; Unauthorised Aircraft Movements; UAMs; Unusual Aerial Sighting, Unidentified Phenomena.”

DOD response 

The DOD assigned the request as FOIA 459/21/22, and then responded on 7 June 2022, releasing 14 pages of documents. These were:


1. An email from [redacted] to Roberts, Catherine, AVM, cc'd [redacted]; dated Friday 11 February 2022, Subject Senate Estimates Briefs. Text "As discussed please find official Senate Estimates Briefs." It mentions there are two briefs.

Comments: At the 27 October 2021, Senate Estimates Committee hearings, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson addressed a number of questions regarding UAP to then Chief of Air Mel Hupfield. My blog article dated 28 October 2021 provided a transcript of these discussions.   Grant Lavac located two written DOD responses to follow-up questions from Senator Whish-Wilson. Copies may be read here and here. They were dated 1 February 2022 and 6 December 2021, respectively. Thus this email to Air Vice-Marshal Roberts attaching Senate Estimate Briefs should be seen as prepping Roberts for any further questions on UAP.

2. A page headed "Space Domain and Policy. CAF Brief. Questions on Notice. Estimates QoNs." There are two broad topics referenced, namely UAP at the 27 October 2021 Estimates Hearing; and Space Policy at a 1 June 2021 hearing. 

3. A document headed "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. CAF Brief." There is no indication as to who prepared the briefing document.


The contents listed are - Notes; Key Messages; Strategic Narrative; Talking Points; How are UAP reported to Defence?; As an ally, have the United States offered to or asked to collaborate on UAP investigations? With the US calling UAP a potential threat to national security, should Australia be concerned too; Timeline of Significant Events/Decisions; Relevant Media Coverage; Relevant Media Enquires; Relevant Ministerial Comments; Questions on Notice; Estimates QoNs; Other QoNs; Freedom of Information; Contact and Clearance officers. 

Notes

Area is blank (not redacted). 

Key Messages

"* Defence does not have a policy governing the reporting or recording of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) by either members of the public or Defence members

* The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ceased the handling of reports of UAP in 1996 after determining there was no scientific or other compelling reason to continue to devote resources to the recording and investigation of UAP

* Defence safety of flight incidents, including those potentially posed by UAP are handled by the Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA), with civilian safety of flight incidents the purview of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)."

Comments: Point 1 has been the consistent response from the DOD to all my enquiries, and those by the media, eg. the ABC. Point 2 is indeed the reason given by the RAAF for cessation of UAP investigations. All their Base UAP files were bundled up, and sent to the National Archives of Australia, where, today, they are available for public viewing. 

On point 3, I don't think I have ever seen a statement before, that potential UAP flight safety incidents could turn up in DASA records. As far back as 2017, Melbourne researcher Paul Dean referenced DASA's predecessor, in an article about UAP. In March 2022 Grant Lavac submitted an FOIA request, assigned number 443/21/22 by the DOD. He asked for all DASA reports, between 2017 and 31 March 2022, which referenced UAP or various other similar keywords. There was a "Nil responsive documents" answer, from the DOD, dated 2 May 2022. 

Strategic Narrative

"UAP are likely to be one of three things:

* natual or other benign phenomena

* anomalies with sensors, or

* (human-made) technologies

UAP could be other nations systems, either contemporary or advanced. Information regarding the collection and investigation of these systems is the remit of the Intelligence Community and is classified."


Comment: I don't understand the statement "natural or other benign phenomena." Yes, "natural" but what does "benign phenomena" mean in this context? 

Background

"On 25 June 2021, the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (the Report) to provide an intelligence assessment of the threat posed by UAP and the progress the US Department of Defense Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) has made in understanding this threat.

* The Report does not draw conclusions on what UAP are and most remain unexplained, mainly due to lack of data

* The Report finds no evidence that UAP are extra-terrestrial in origin

* The Report did reach the following conclusions:

** In a limited number of incidents, UAP reportedly appeared to exhibit unusual flight characteristics. These observations could be the result of sensor errors, spoofing or observer misperception and require additional rigorous analyses

** There are probably multiple types of UAP requiring different explanations based on the range of appearances and behaviours described in the available reporting

** UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security. UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology

** On 23 November 2021, the US Director of National Intelligence directed the establishment of the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronisation Group to coordinate reporting across US Department of Defence and other US agencies with the gaol to minimise flight safety and national security concerns


* Defence has no plans to replicate a similar mechanism. DASA and CASA already serve this function across flight safety issues and apparatus exist for concerns regarding national security

* Historically the RAAF was responsible for handling UAP reports, however that ceased in 1996. If civilians wish to report UAP they should contact their local police authorities, or get in contact with civil UAP research organisations

* The Defence Instruction was cancelled in November 2000 and not replaced

* UAP may also be referred to as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) or Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS). UAP is the contemporary term for such phenomena."

Comments: Finally, someone in the DOD, has had to do some research on the topic to provide this briefing paper to Air Vice-Marshal Roberts. It's a fair summary of the ODNI report and RAAF involvement. Naturally, there is no indepth review of the material, which the RAAF collected between 1951 and 1996; in which, areas of the DOD itself said there was enough evidence to require an indepth study, by some government agency, such as the then Department of Supply. 

There probably is no-one in the DOD who has reviewed their own UAP related files, which are now in the National Archives of Australia. This does raise an interesting question as to how does someone in DOD knows the RAAF interest ceased in 1996 and the Standing Instruction was cancelled in 2000, if all their files are in the NAA? It would appear that some new recording system, eg an electronic file has been created to store this knowledge. Another topic for an FOIA request?

Talking points

"How are UAP reported to Defence?

* Defence does not have a policy for reporting or recording UAP

* Historically, the RAAF was responsible for handling UAP reports on behalf of Defence, however that ceased in 1996 after determining there was no scientific or other compelling reason to continue to devote resource to the recording and investigation of UAP

* Defence safety of flight incidents, including those potentailly posed by UAP are handled by the Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA), with civilian safety of flight incidents the purview of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

As an ally, have the United States offered to or asked to collaborate on UAP investigations?

* No, the United States nor any other nation or ally have requested or offered to collaborate on UAP reporting or investigation

* Defence has no desire to seek collaboration on this issue."

Comment: This last section answers a question I had, as to whether or not, the US had approached Australia to seek information or offer collaboration on UAP investigations.

With the US calling UAP a potential threat to national security, should Australia be concerned too?

* UAP are likely to be one of three things, natural or other benign phenomena, anomalies with sensors or (human-made) technologies. Information on the human-made technologies is classified and the remit of the Intelligence Community

* Countering capabilities spanning the maritime, land, air, cyber and space domains that could threaten our national security is a core business of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), any threat to national security is a concern but also a priority for Defence."

Comment: Looking at the agencies which make up the Australian National Intelligence Community, the one most likely to be involved in any collection and analysis of "human-made technologies " per UAP; is The Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO.) Its role is as the Department of Defence's all-source intelligence assessment agency on countries and foreign organisations, looking at military capabilities, weapon systems, and defence-related technologies. So, if, for example, some UAP are foreign adversary drones, then the DIO would be interested. It would therefore appear reasonable to suggest, that if any portion of the entire Department of Defence were to take an interest in UAP, the DIO would be it. I have mentioned before that I suspect that some analyst in the DIO has a watching brief on the UAP topic. 

"Are UAP a risk to flight safety?

* Flight safety is a high priority for ADF aviation. Any risks to flight safety are considered serious, but Defence is not aware of UAP being the cause of an aviation safety incident or featured prominently in a safety investigation."

Comment: On the last point re flight safety, I doubt that ADF aviation has read any of the available NARCAP data, or looked into incidents such as the near-miss between a passenger aircraft and an "unknown" object near Perth on 19 March 2014 as reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau? 

"Are these likely to be extra-terrestrial in origin?

* There is no evidence to suggest that UAP would be extra-terrestrial in origin."

Timeline of significant events/decisions

This lists three events:

* 25 June 2021 - Release of ODNI report

*13 November 2000 - DI(G) ADMIN 55-1 outlining ADF policy cancelled

* 27 August 1996 - DI(G) 55-1 amended.

Relevant Media Coverage:

This lists the following media reports. 10 Nov 2021 The Sun; 9 Nov 2021 GQ UK; 29 Oct 2021 The Australian; 28 Oct 2021 ABC News; 25 Oct 2021 Remo News.

Relevant media inquiries:

Nil.

Relevant Ministerial comments:

Nil.

Questions on notice:

Whish-Wilson 27 October 2021 Senate Estimates.

Other QoN:

Nil.

Freedom of Information:

Nil.

Contact and Clearance Offices:

Clearing Officer AVM Catherine Roberts.

Consultation:

Mr Colin McKenna, Assistant Secretary Strategic Capabilities Policy Development.

Brig. Warren Gould, Director General Systems and Integration - Army.

Mr Rod Smith, STaR Shot Leader - Resiliant  Multi Mission Space , Defence Science and Technology Group. 

Comment: A search of the daily summaries of the Australian Senate Budget Estimates 2022-2023, for the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, for hearings held on 1, 6 and 7 April 2022, failed to locate any mention of UAP. A search of the Hansard transcripts for those three days also failed to locate any mention of, or questions about, UAP. It would therefore appear, that the DOD brief was not used, as apparently no parliamentary questions were asked about UAP. 

Rest of documents

4. The rest of the documents released, deal with the Space Policy brief.

In summary

The Australian DOD has no interest in UAP. There are existing processes for any concerns re air safety or adversarial technology. 



Acknowledgement:

I wish to thank Grant Lavac for sharing the details of his FOIA requests, and the DOD responses. These documents should shortly be uploaded to the Australian DOD FOIA Disclosure log page. For the moment they may be accessed via this Dropbox link. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

M J Banias interviews Robert Bush - a former BAASS employee

Background

In 2019, I put together an Excel spreadsheet which listed a number of employees of  Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) who won the contract for the Defence Intelligence Agency's  (DIA) Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications program (AAWSAP.)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-bush-95818013/

One of these employees was named Robert Bush. In his LinkedIn profile, Bush stated that he had been employed by BAASS between June and October 2009 as an investigator/security officer. Despite my efforts to contact Bush and ask him what he did, when employed by BAASS; he never responded.

Fast forward to 2022

M J Banias - image courtesy Amazon Books


Educator, author and blogger, M J Banias, succeeded in obtaining an interview with Bush as part of Banias' Fringe Network: Alien State, series of podcasts this year (2022) available through Apple Podcasts. Episode four of the series is titled "The Real X-files" and was released on 20 June 2022.

How did Bush get the job?

Bush states that he saw a job advert on the Indeed job site. It was for an investigator for BAASS. Bush sent in his resume and was called in for an interview with BAASS' Colm Kelleher. During the interview Bush was asked various UAP related questions, such as, had he heard of MUFON? Bush says the job was about trying to explain what these anomalies are. As Bush had had a lifetime interest in the unusual he seemed an ideal candidate for the position.

What did the job entail?

* Office based - to go through 10-20 reports a day which came in through the MUFON system

* Field based - then for an interesting case, an on-site field investigation was conducted

* Daily briefings on cases were held

* He, and others, had classified briefings from guest speakers

* Bush said he saw the USN UAP videos before the rest of us

* There were programs on the computers he used for checking weather details; aircraft; satellites etc

* Sometimes he called witnesses directly, to obtain further information

* Promising cases went to Kelleher to look at

* There was one case, Crown Point, New Mexico, which happened at a pumping station. They had 100 foot long, 50 foot tall, by 6 foot round concrete pillars down on the ground. All of a sudden they were picked up and thrown a couple of hundred yards away. No weather phenomena could explain it. No other explanation found.

Procedure

Bush referenced another case, where he interviewed a man in Ventura County, California. It was like a wormhole opened up. The man was a former law enforcement officer. BAASS personnel, including Bush, surveilled the property. On the second night, fog rolled in and the temperature dropped. Various pieces of their equipment failed. Bush saw an orb the size of a basketball, which dropped out of a cloud. Bush looked up and saw three big heads with big eyes looking down. There was no "craft." Bush said he had hoped that action would be taken on a case like this. Bush had no idea what happened to the report on this case. (Note this July 2009 case, is described in detail in the 2021 book "Skinwalkers at the Pentagon" by Lacatski et al, Chapter 7 "Lagol, California Investigation."

Layoffs

Soon after this, BAASS downsized and a number of staff were layed off, including himself. In hindsight, Bush says the equipment they had, and used, wasn't "fancy" enough. Bush says he doesn't know what happened to the evidence he gathered.

What we know about the Australian Department of Defence's (lack of) interest in UAP

Freedom of Information Act requests  From Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by Melbourne researcher Grant Lavac , and myself; corre...