Over on his Further blog, Mark Pilkington has announced the upcoming publication of a new book by Ken Hollings that looks fascinating: Welcome to Mars: Fantasies of Science in the American Century 1947-1959:
'Welcome To Mars' draws upon newspaper accounts, advertising campaigns, declassified government archives, old movies and newsreels from this unique period when the future first took on a tangible presence. Ken Hollings depicts an unsettled time in which the layout of Suburbia reflected atomic bombing strategies, bankers and movie stars experimented with hallucinogens, brainwashing was just another form of interior decoration and strange lights in the sky were taken very seriously indeed.
The back cover blurb features positive testimonials from the likes of Erik Davis and Jacques Vallee, who says the book "is a searingly accurate and deeply disturbing exposé of the fantasies of American modernism that have inspired the many nightmares and the few hopeful visions of our new Millennium." Sounds tasty! The book will be officially released late October.
On his blog at Strange Attractor, Mark Pilkington points to a short film which jams just about every Fortean and alternative history and science topic into its 20 minute running time: The Orion Conspiracy...
A very cleverly-assembled Grand Unified Mystico-Technological Conspiracy of Everything from French film-maker Seb Janiak. From vedic vimanas to space weaponry and global mind control in just under 20 minutes - phew! I’d say it’s about 6.66% accurate...
A 270MB download, but well worth the wait.
With coverage of plenty of spurious memes, the film is certainly a tour de force of the growing mythology behind the UFO, conspiracy and hidden history genres. If you can't handle the large download, you might want to check it out at Youtube, where it's split into two parts: 1 and 2.
The BBC has recently become the focus of conspiracy theorists with their show Conspiracy Files digging into the alternative theories of what transpired on 9/11 and 7/7 (the train-bombings of London). Mike Rudin, the producer of the series, posted three separate blog entries during June which addressed and debated a number of the topics involved.
"Controversy and Conspiracies", Part One, discussed whether conspiracy theories should even be given airtime, in response to recent criticisms that the BBC was paying a conspiracy theorist to participate in the feature on 7/7:
The stakes are high because conspiracy theories are spreading suspicion about the official account of what happened, ultimately questioning whether the authorities can be trusted. Establishing whether what is argued is true or false, and scrutinising the way proponents conduct themselves, is clearly in the public interest and is a serious and legitimate task for the BBC.
Parts Two and Three concentrated on the enigmatic collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on 9/11 - which will feature in Conspiracy Files on BBC Two tonight. A news story by Rudin, posted on the BBC News website on Friday, features a trailer for this weekend's feature, and suggests that a long-awaited report will put the collapse down to fire:
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, based near Washington DC, is expected to conclude in its long-awaited report this month that ordinary fires caused the building to collapse. That would make it the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's lead investigator, Dr Shyam Sunder, spoke to BBC Two's 'The Conspiracy Files': "Our working hypothesis now actually suggests that it was normal building fires that were growing and spreading throughout the multiple floors that may have caused the ultimate collapse of the buildings."
However, a group of architects, engineers and scientists say the official explanation that fires caused the collapse is impossible. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth argue there must have been a controlled demolition.
These new blogs and documentary features on the BBC have riled many of those involved in promoting or researching the conspiracy angle, with plenty of commentary at Alex Jones' Prison Planet and 911Blogger.com.
Personally, I think a lot of the 9/11 conspiracy movement has become a belief system of its own, with a bunch of self-promoters profiting off it to the detriment of those who have something worthwhile to say. Having said that however, I equally dislike the faulty attribution of 'conspiracy theorist = crazy person'. There are very good historical reasons to not trust authority blindly (see Operation Northwoods for just one pertinent example), and I'm actually quite comforted to know that there are people out there who look closely at all the details of these type of events.
And when it comes to the details surroudning WTC7, even if the truth is that it was just fires (after all, it did burn all day, and many people reported hearing creaking and groaning noises coming from it, suggesting an impending collapse), you have to admit that you can't blame suspicious people for seeing conspiracy: The collapse would make it "the first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire". Rather than being investigated, the steel girders were removed from the site and melted down. The owner of the building mentioned on video that he told authorities to "pull it" (apparently referring to fire crews inside the building). News media including the BBC reported the collapse while the building was still standing. The BBC's satellite then went dead at that moment. Then the BBC claimed to have lost the tape of the report. The official report is only now about to be released, more than 7 years on.
If there are no elements of conspiracy behind these events, then it would make a wonderful case study in how a sequence of unrelated events can easily lead people to a certain, incorrect, belief. I've created a nice new controversial poll here on TDG, asking for all your thoughts - was there a conspiracy involved in the collapse of WTC7? Readers in the UK will probably want to check out the documentary tonight for a good overview. You can vote anytime on the poll, or check the results, via the block on the right-hand side of the page.
On the menu of a Wall Street restaurant is a burger covered in gold flakes - at US$180 for one burger, it's a meal fit for Gordon Gekko. Is there an Illuminati version of Gordon Ramsay loose in a New York restaurant? That's an appetising conspiracy, but sprinkling your food with gold isn't new. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt ingested gold dust, believing it prolonged one's life. Restaurants in Turkey have been serving gold-flecked meals for a while, and they were undoubtedly inspired by history:
Europe has very old traditions in using edible gold on food, dating back to the Renaissance. While 15th century alchemists used gold medicinally as an aid to digestion, 16th century Italian dukes decorated their risotto with it. The Elizabethans added gold dust to fruit at their most sumptuous banquets and ate sweets covered in gold in the afternoons to maintain healthy hearts. Gold is still considered medicinal in both traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The Japanese continue to use gold regularly in their diet, and it is especially consumed at New Year’s when it is thought to bring luck and prosperity. There are several brands of sake that feature gold flakes in the bottle.
A small bottle of Kizakura sake sits on the shelf above my computer, a past birthday present that I never drank. The gold flakes sit at the bottom, autumn leaves in a pond, until I shake it like a snow-globe. But this beautiful concept is shattered by my conscience conjuring images of the obscenely rich gorging themselves on gold and beef at the expense of environmental and human rights.
Or perhaps it's simply that the sake I just drank is well past its expiry date...how else can I explain contemplating a conspiracy of Wall Street burgers sprinkled with gold dust, Illuminati chefs, and alchemical immortality?
Paranormal researcher and pundit George P. Hansen - the author of the seminal book The Trickster and the Paranormal - has posted a quite amazing entry on his blog, which touches on the crossovers between UFO/paranormal research and the shady world of government agencies. This is a really sensitive topic, with most people preferring to sweep it under the carpet - but it is one that really, at some stage, needs to come to a head. Most importantly because it has ramifications for the reputation (and research) in multiple fields, from parapsychology to ufology, and alien abductions.
In the early 1990s, Jones publicly proclaimed that he "honestly did not know of any activity of the U.S. government" in the field of UFOs.1 But in 1992 Robert J. Durant produced a detailed, widely circulated white paper demonstrating that Jones was in a position to throw considerable light on government-UFO activities...
Colonel John Alexander (U.S. Army, retired) was heavily involved with the U.S. government’s psychic spying program, but he was also active with UFOs. In fact, Alexander admitted that he was the model for the "Harold Phillips" character in Howard Blum’s book "Out There: The Government’s Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials".
Hansen then goes on to detail some rather shocking connections, which include links to the JFK assassination investigation, and also to the strange case of Armen Victorian - if you care to research either of these two topics, you'll head down some very deep rabbit-holes indeed! Far too deep to go into here...it should be enough to say they involve plenty of shady government agencies, various levels of harassment and threats, and all the other cloak and dagger you'd expect from such folk.
Hansen's point is this:
Whatever one may think of Jones and Alexander, one cannot reasonably conclude that they have worked to inform the public about government-UFO activities. They have fostered ambiguity and suspicion, and perhaps worse. One might be skeptical of any statements they may make on the topic.
Now, George Hansen is not some kooky conspiracy guy. He is a respected thinker on paranormal topics who has been involved in the field for many years - though he is also disliked by many because he tends to 'call it as he sees it'. And in this case he may be calling the biggest topic there is in the paranormal field. John Alexander is linked to various high-profile research efforts on the paranormal - from the 'Stargate' remote viewing project, through to Robert Bigelow's National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS). Beyond Alexander though, numerous high-profile researchers on paranormal topics also have been connected to government agencies.
My point? Considering its already shaky reputation, the field of paranormal research is one that must be open, honest and transparent. Involvement of government agencies throws a huge - and unwelcome - shadow upon that goal. That's not to say that those involved with such agencies have nefarious goals or are bad people - I know quite a few myself, and most I would have nothing but praise for. But it is a huge issue that needs to be discussed more openly.
Over the past few years, controversy has surrounded the alleged use of torture by U.S military and intelligence personnel, with the current administration arguing - basically - that in these times of 'war' (ie. the War on Terror, aka "the global struggle against extremism"), anything goes if it saves U.S. lives. The story has reared its head again with the publication of the 'Yoo' memo, a legal memorandum sent by the U.S. Justice Department to the Pentagon in 2003.
Browsing through this disgraceful attempt at using semantics to justify torture, I noted with interest that the memo also mines dictionary definitions to allow interrogation with mind-altering drugs - somewhat of a fifty-year flashback (pardon the pun) to the bad old days of Project MK-ULTRA. Watch the semantic acrobatics (please excuse the length, but it's necessary to show how they justify it all):
Second, section 2340(2)(B) provides that prolonged mental harm, constituting torture, can be caused by "the administration or application or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality."...
...This subparagraph, however, does not preclude any and all use of drugs.
We recently posted about a new 'targeted advertising system' which literally made you hear voices in your head. Now comes news that a 1998 Pentagon report released under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) describes possible laser technologies which would allow 'microwave hearing' (interestingly, for anyone that has read my Darklore Vol. 1 article on sounds heard during paranormal experiences - available for free on the website - the report says that this hearing initially involves sounds described as buzzing, ticking, hissing, or knocking):
"The phenomenon is tunable in that the characteristic sounds and intensities of those sounds depend on the characteristics of the RF energy as delivered," the report explains. "Because the frequency of the sound heard is dependent on the pulse characteristics of the RF energy, it seems possible that this technology could be developed to the point where words could be transmitted to be heard like the spoken word, except that it could only be heard within a person´s head. In one experiment, communication of the words from one to ten using ´speech modulated´ microwave energy was successfully demonstrated. Microphones next to the person experiencing the voice could not pick up these sounds. Additional development of this would open up a wide range of possibilities."
The report predicts that communicating at longer distances would be possible with larger equipment, while shorter range signals could be generated with portable equipment. Putting voices in people´s heads could cause what the report calls "psychologically devastating" effects. The technology might even allow for communicating with an individual hostage surrounded by captors, although this would require "extreme directional specificity."
Now, obviously, historical reports of people hearing voices from before the mid-20th century (Joan of Arc, the seers of Fatima, Mohammed etc) can't be blamed on the Pentagon. But does this offer some possibilities in terms of methods of communication with 'other' intelligences (especially when you consider other recent news about microwaves disabling engines/machinery - another 'close encounter' staple)? Jacques Vallee made the point almost two decades ago that microwave technologies could facilitate such a thing:
Some experiments with microwaves suggest that it is becoming technically feasible for sensory impressions to be projected into people's minds at a distance. Is this part of the technology that is involved in the UFO phenomenon?
Once again Vallee's prescience is impressive...
The Space Review has a pretty cool two-page article up on the decoding the symbolism of mission patches found on spacecraft and satellite launches. Titled "Secrets and Signs", the article avoids Hoaglandesque Masonic conspiracies, but all the same does point out that there is plenty of symbolism to be read into the patches:
These examples demonstrate that for probably three decades or more it has been common for those involved in classified satellite launches to fill their logos and mission patches with all kinds of information, including exactly the kind of information that the NRO will never provide to the press or in response to questions.
Written by aerospace journalist Roger Guillemette and space historian Dwayne Day, it's easy to read but gives a fascinating insight into things that are hidden right before our eyes. Space conspiracy theory skeptics *and* believers can probably take as much out of the article as each other...
Wired have picked up on a recent FOIA document posted to the Above Top Secret forums regarding the HAARP installation (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) in Alaska. The released document suggests that while HAARP may not be the superweapon envisaged by some, it still does have possible defence applications:
The document points out that "on the higher frequency end (VHF/UHF) transionospheric propagation is a ubiquitous element of numerous civilian and military communication systems, surveillance and remote sensing systems." In other words, messing with the ionosphere means you can shut down VHF radio, TV and radar signals at will. As radio hams know, the reflection and refraction effects of the ionosphere make a huge difference to long-range radio reception, and HAARP provides the only means of influencing that.
HAARP can also "induce precipitation of energetic particles" in the ionosphere, which "could impact the operation and lifespan of satellites." While this is mainly about protecting satellites from particles from solar flares or nuclear explosions, the phrasing suggests that it might be able to have a subtle negative impact on satellites as well...
...All in all, it's a set-up that can do a lot more than just basic research. And while this may not seem much compared to weather modification, remember that these are just the capabilities they're willing to make public...
See the above links for full details.
Anomalies researcher Nick Redfern has an interesting post up on his 'Strange Secrets' blog (yes, he has quite a few!), about some online FBI files which are mysteriously disappearing:
As I noted in my post here yesterday, the FBI has quietly removed from its website a PDF collection of documentation on alleged cases of spontaneous human combustion. Instead, all you get now is a summary of the files in question.
Interestingly, the FBI has also begun to remove other Fortean files, and UFO-related data, from its site too.
Full details at Nick's blog.