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This was sent to me earlier this week,

                Let UFO truth be told

               Witnesses seek immunity, open hearings to end government

               By Billy Cox
               FLORIDA TODAY

               On one level, Daniel Sheehan's challenge before a packed house at the
               National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last week was just the latest skirmish
               in his 30-year war against American covert operations. The 20 witnesses
               Sheehan vowed to protect with legal muscle had converged from across the
               United States - and Mexico, even - to press Congress to investigate high-level
               illegalities making an end run around the Constitution.

               There was a retro feel to it. After all, the attorney from San Rafael, Calif., had
               assisted the prosecution of government spooks violating the Boland
               Amendment before the Iran/Contra scandal broke. During the Vietnam War, he
               defended the New York Times' access to the Pentagon Papers. In 1972, he
               represented Watergate burglar James McCord in tracing the plumbers' chain
               of command directly to the heart of the Nixon White House.

               But this was different. With a battery of cameras rolling inside the Main
               Ballroom on this damp Wednesday morning, witness after witness - many of
               them retired military and government officials - stepped forward to accuse the
               government of erecting a 50-year cover-up through intimidation around
               unidentified flying objects. Among the most troubling scraps of evidence were
               documents and witness accounts of UFOs destabilizing advanced weapons
               systems, including the shutdown of nuclear missiles inside ICBM silos.

               "We have existed in a national security state since 1947 with the creation of
               the National Security Act," said Sheehan, who went on to declare that former
               chief executive George Bush had sabotaged President Carter's efforts to
               access classified UFO files when the former still was CIA director. "What we
               need to do is disassemble some of those unique unconstitutional structures to
               move into an era of peace."

               It was called the Disclosure Project, and it went on for nearly three hours, with
               each witness telling the media audience they wanted to submit open testimony
               to Capitol Hill under oath.

               State secrets

               Such hearings, if conducted, would be the first since a brief investigation by the
               House Science and Astronautics Committee in 1968. If the odds are against it,
               an overview rendered by project founder Dr. Steven Greer sent smoke signals
               to potential special-interest allies for coalition resources.

               Greer, a Virginia emergency-room surgeon who left his practice to explore the
               netherworld of UFOs full time three years ago, called for a ban on
               space-based weapons, claiming the proposed National Missile Defense
               shield really is targeting alien intruders. Furthermore, Greer said hardware
               recovered from UFO crashes has been reverse-engineered into "fully
               operational anti-gravity propulsion technologies" with the potential to end the
               world's reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

               The problem, Greer said, is that these state secrets are buried inside such
               deep compartmentalization that not even the usual suspects have proper
               security clearances anymore. For instance, he told the crowd he briefed
               then-CIA director James Woolsey about the UFO gridlock in 1993.

               But Greer also announced he and fellow investigators had identified 400
               witnesses willing to violate their security oaths to tell what they know in
               exchange for immunity from prosecution. Roughly 100 already have been
               videotaped, and those who spoke up May 9, including John Callahan,
               appeared unconcerned about the consequences.

               Callahan was the Federal Aviation Administration's division chief of the
               Accidents and Investigations Branch in 1986 when a Japan Airlines pilot flying
               a 747 off Anchorage, Alaska, reported radar and visual contact with a UFO
               roughly four times the size of his passenger jet. The object, described as a
               bright glowing sphere sporting a ring of running lights, also painted the scopes
               of ground operators, and mimicked the 747's evasive maneuvers for 31

               The result, Callahan said, was a subsequent meeting involving him,
               now-deceased FAA administrator Don Engen, members of President
               Reagan's Scientific Study Group and CIA agents.

               "We brought everything we had, just filled the room with boxes of printout data,
               and we conducted a pretty detailed briefing," Callahan recalled. "And, I mean,
               these guys are drooling, they're all excited. Me, I thought maybe we were
               dealing with a Stealth bomber, but the CIA guy says, 'No, this is the first time
               we've ever caught a UFO on radar for more than 30 minutes.' "

               When the meeting ended, Callahan said the CIA agent swore them all to
               secrecy, confiscated the material in the room, and said, "This meeting never
               happened, this event never happened."

               But Callahan added that he never signed a compliance statement, and no one
               instructed him to turn over the copies he'd made of the data, including voice
               recordings synchronized with radar readings. He displayed a packet of
               material he said he hoped to show to Congress.

               Craft capabilities

               Michael Smith, a retired Air Force sergeant, said he was astounded by the
               capabilities of a UFO that showed up on his early-warning radar when he was
               stationed near Klamath Falls, Ore., in 1970. It hovered at 80,000 feet for 10
               minutes, then reappeared 200 miles from its initial location within a single
               sweep of the radar scan. When he queried the North American Aerospace
               Defense Command, Smith was told, "you keep it to yourself."

               On another occasion, Smith said NORAD reported it was tracking a UFO
               headed in his direction from the California coastline, but he was ordered to
               take no action and keep it off the logs. Later, while assigned to a military base
               in Michigan, Smith said UFOs were hovering so close to a landing strip that
               descending B-52s had to be diverted to avoid a collision.

               Perhaps the Disclosure Project's most compelling testimonial was a 1967
               UFO encounter recollected by Robert Salas. The retired Air Force captain
               presented documents declassified in 1996 to back up at least part of his story.

               Generated by Strategic Air Command, a report indicates that 10 Minuteman
               missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana "lost strat(egic) alert within
               10 seconds of each other" on March 16, 1967. Although power eventually was
               restored, "no apparent reason for the loss of 10 missiles can be readily
               identified (and) is cause for grave concern," it states. An accompanying telex
               mentions "numerous reports" of "UFO sightings" and even a landing in the
               Great Falls area.

               Salas said he was the missile launch officer at a nearby SAC facility
               code-named Oscar Silo early that morning when security personnel above
               ground phoned in a report of a glowing, oval-shaped UFO hovering outside the
               base gates. "Within minutes of getting (a second) phone call, my weapons
               started going down one after another," Salas said. "We lost between six and
               eight weapons that morning."

               Within half an hour, he added, they received a report of a similar incident at
               SAC's Echo Silo complex - except that all 10 of Echo's missiles were
               deactivated from launch readiness. Salas later said he'd searched Project
               Blue Book, the official Air Force study of UFOs, and could find no mention of
               the encounter. He also said he has 12 witnesses who can substantiate the
               SAC report.

               Official stance

               In Indian Harbour Beach, retired Air Force colonel and erstwhile Blue Book
               spokesman Bill Coleman said he suspects the Malmstrom incident wasn't
               archived because he theorizes Salas was rattled by a routine SAC

               "SAC was famous for running all kinds of tests to challenge security systems -
               they did it all the time," said Coleman, who went on to become the Air Force's
               chief public relations officer during the early 1970s. "It could easily have been a
               test created by the SAC commander to neutralize the weapons site to gauge
               the response measures.

               "These are the kinds of things SAC does routinely. This captain should've
               known it was a test. Either that, or he's lying about it."

               As the official USAF repository for UFO data from 1947-69, Blue Book
               collected 12,618 cases and lists 701 reports as unidentified. The Air Force's
               written conclusions haven't budged since: "No UFO reported, investigated and
               evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of (a) threat to our national

               Coleman said he was asked by Greer a year ago to discuss his 1955
               encounter, during which he gave chase to a disc-shaped vehicle over
               Mississippi while piloting a B-25. Coleman has no explanation for why this
               incident isn't posted in the Blue Book files. But he says he declined to
               cooperate with Greer.

               "They need to get off of this crap about accusing the Air Force and the CIA of
               lying. That's not going to cut it with Congress," Coleman said. "Look, if these
               (Disclosure Project) people were talking about classified information, they've
               already violated their security oaths under Title 18, which means they can be
               prosecuted for what they've done. This law wasn't created by the military, it was
               created by Congress."

               Besides, Coleman added, UFO witnesses often present credibility problems.
               "This business," he said, "attracts a lot of kooks and nuts."

               An attempt to raise a show of hands among Disclosure Project witnesses
               who'd violated their security oaths was pre-empted by Sheehan. "I don't think
               all the people are necessarily in a legal position to adequately answer that," he

               Greer said he was satisfied with the screening process.

               "This field is filled with hoaxes and scams," he said. "But it doesn't mean that
               all of it is. In fact, after eight years of research, we have found the documents
               and insiders willing to testify under oath before Congress that this is true."

               Among the highlights from those who wanted to share even more details with

               Former Lockheed "Skunkworks" engineer Don Phillips said technology
               gleaned from recovered extraterrestrial vehicles has long been incorporated
               into U.S. weaponry.

               Retired Col. Dwynne Arneson said he worked classified projects with the Air
               Force, and that while at Malmstrom AFB, he read a message about a metallic
               UFO hovering near missile silos and shutting down nuclear ICBMs.

               As Wernher Von Braun's spokeswoman from 1974-77, Carol Rosin said the
               rocket pioneer warned her space was going to be militarized ostensibly to
               guard against enemy nukes and asteroids, but that space-based pickets really
               were aimed at exraterrestrials.

               In 1979, Navy veteran and ex-National Security Agency employee James Kopf
               was aboard the USS JFK, laden with nuclear weapons, when a UFO buzzed
               the vessel and scrambled onboard communications systems.

               Donna Hare, who worked as a display designer for Johnson Space Center
               contractor Philco-Ford, said NASA had a "protocol" to airbrush UFO images
               off photos scheduled for public release.

               One time zone to the west, in Houston, NASA spokeswoman Eileen Hawley
               categorically dismissed Hare's allegation: "We do not doctor photos. I am
               unaware of any such policy."

               At any rate, the gathering ended on a burst of applause from audience
               sympathizers when Greer declared all national security oaths regarding UFOs
               "null and void," adding: "There will be no legal repercussions - we have
               counsel to represent (whistleblowers)."

               Looking quite pleased with the proceedings was the Disclosure Project's
               National Press Club sponsor, 90-year-old veteran Washington political
               reporter Sarah McClendon.

               From her wheelchair venue on the front row, McClendon found nothing
               particularly exotic about the issue of UFO secrecy. Said the woman whose first
               assignment was the Roosevelt presidency in 1944, "I've been around long
               enough to know they'll cover up anything if they think they can get away with it."

May 2001 
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